Saudi Arabia’s grand vision for the future includes becoming less reliant on oil based revenues. To help with this process the younger generation of royals are looking to change the image of the Kingdom in order to attract foreign direct investment. Saudi reforms are being put in place in order to increase the attraction to the outside world across a whole range of business areas such as tourism, manufacturing, financial services, transportation and more.
Saudi reforms are imperative in order to increase the number of jobs for the growing younger generations. There is a changing demographic in the kingdom due to the baby boom over the last 20-30 years with many of the younger generation feeling disenfranchised. A new generation of upcoming Saudi leaders are looking to the West for new investment opportunities and they are being encouraged by the reaction of young Saudis on social media and elsewhere.
(Reuters) – The powerful young prince behind modernizing reforms in Saudi Arabia presents himself as the champion of his nation’s plugged-in youth, and his visit to Silicon Valley this week sought to bolster that image.
The 31-year-old Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has unabashedly pitched his “Vision 2030” reforms at the 70% of the staid Islamic kingdom’s people younger than him, promising to unlock their “talent, potential and dedication.”
He has also tried to overcome Western stereotypes of Saudis, meeting foreign media to sell his vision of market-oriented reforms and a transformation of the kingdom’s society. Pictures of the denim-clad prince in Silicon Valley served both purposes.
His modernizing message has strongly resonated on social media with younger Saudis, whose concerns sometimes seemed misunderstood or ignored by older royals, and where hashtags referencing the prince receive large volumes of traffic.
“The Saudi youth and the government are finally speaking the same language,” said Manal al-Sharif, a banker and mother of two teenage girls in Jeddah.