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June 21 marked one year of Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Since assuming the role, the crown prince, fondly known as MBS, has been working for the socioeconomic transformation of the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia has witnessed several unprecedented developments in the past year.
6月21日是穆罕默德·本·萨勒曼(Mohammed bin Salman)成为沙特阿拉伯王储的一周年。自被立储以来，被亲切地称为MBS的王储一直致力于沙特的社会经济转型。过去一年，沙特阿拉伯经历了多方面前所未有的发展。
MBS is the architect of a wide-ranging plan for social and economic reforms known as Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the economy of the Kingdom and reduce its dependence on oil income. The Kingdom has witnessed the continuation of the successful implementation of the crown prince’s Vision 2030, which covers all aspects of life. Saudi Vision 2030 was inspiring the country’s youth and introducing structural changes to the Saudi economy and society.
$500 Billion NEOM City
Vision 2030 seeks to boost the Saudi non-oil based economy, and the large developments at the Red Sea coast. NEOM, the futuristic mega city, is a significant part of the great vision. Neom will operate as a separate "special zone". It will remain under the sovereignty of the Saudi King, but will enact a new set of judicial and regulatory laws aimed primarily at attracting as much global investment, talent and business as possible. Investors will be invited to draft regulations and legislation, and indeed social expectations will be more liberal and global than Saudi Arabia has been in recent years. Promotional materials show women in the city will not have to wear headscarves.
Clean energy is a priority here; Saudi Arabia plans to build a number of solar and wind power plants. Large energy storage solutions and some desalination projects are also being considered. The new city will strive to design regulatory frameworks that will attract high-tech companies, particularly in biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, robotics, renewable energy and future transport solutions. In addition, Saudi Arabia will launch the King Salman Bridge project to connect Asia with Africa. Total investment in Neom city is expected to exceed $500 billion.
Arab Fashion Week
Before this year, few can imagined the Islamic kingdom would host a fashion week in its capital Riyadh. On April 10, 2018, Ritz Carlton hotel, Saudi Arabia's first ever Arab Fashion Week opens and joins designers from Europe and the Arab world over the course of four days. While the Riyadh’s women-only shows aren’t open to cameras, models, designers and delegates have been sharing a few moments from their down time. Saudi Princess Noura Bint Faisal Al-Saud, honorary president of the Riyadh branch of Arab Fashion Week, said fashion has always been important in the kingdom. A fashion industry is taking shape in the MENA region that could create jobs for up to 20 million women, the Arab Fashion Council anticipated.
Reopening Of Cinemas
A week after the fashion show, the Kingdom’s cinema reopened to the general public after 35 years. Saudi Arabia began issuing licenses again in March 2018 to operate cinemas in the Kingdom ahead of their reopening after a 35-year-long ban was lifted. On April 18, the blockbuster "Black Panther" produced by Walt Disney Co. was released in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia. And Saudi films entered in the Cannes Film Festival for the first time in May. In addition, women are allowed to attend concerts, enter stadiums and go to cinemas with their male companies.
时装秀一周后，这个王国的电影院时隔35年重新向公众开放。在解除长达35年的禁令后， 沙特阿拉伯于2018年3月开始再次发放运营电影院的执照，允许开办电影院。4月18日，华特-迪士尼公司(Walt Disney Co.)出品的全球卖座大片《黑豹》(Black Panther)在沙特首都利雅得上映。5月份沙特电影首次参加戛纳电影节。另外，女性被允许与她们的男伴们一起去听音乐会、进入体育馆和去看电影。
$200 billion Entertainment Zone
On April 28, Saudi laid foundation stone of a $200 billion entertainment project called “Qiddiya”. Qiddiya is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city by 2030, with a total area of 334 square kilometers, surpassing Walt Disney World in Florida, which is 110 sq km. Most featured activities include: car racing all year long, a large safari, outdoor water adventures, virtual reality games and six flags theme park.
Allowing Female Drivers
Another major development is the lifting of a ban on women driving. From June 24, women in Saudi Arabia will be able to take the wheel. Automobile agents across the kingdom have started displaying attractive car models in their showrooms to woo women customers. Besides, saleswomen have started filling car showrooms to facilitate the decision-making process for potential female buyers. Sellers expect six to ten percent increase in car sales with women starting to drive in the Kingdom, which is the largest automobile market in the Middle East.
The crown prince’s Vision 2030 reform plan seeks to elevate women to nearly one-third of the workforce, up from the current 22 percent. Besides, on May 29, the Saudi government approved a measure on criminalizing sexual harassment in the Kingdom. The first legislation of its kind aims at combating the crime of harassment, preventing it, applying punishment against perpetrators and protecting the victims in order to safeguard the individual’s privacy, dignity and personal freedom. In addition, The Ministry of Labor and Social Development will implement an occupational safety and health (OSH) management system from July 1, in order to develop national regulations and motivate employers to create attractive, safe and healthy work environments.
In one year MBS had taken many important initiatives at the national and international level and reinforced Saudi Arabia’s leading role in defending and supporting issues related to the wider Muslim world. The most notable achievement was the creation of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs has received a great deal of support and attention from the crown prince to help fight extremist and deviant ideologies. The crown prince had allocated $66.7 million to fight the cholera epidemic in Yemen, in addition to his efforts to help the needy throughout the world without discrimination.
The crown prince had worked hard to build a new phase of progress and prosperity for the country with the help of the youth who are the core of the Kingdom’s future. In recent years, the crown prince has become the government’s face of reform, modernization and change. In a country where about 60 percent of the population is under 30, Makkah Investment foresee that the young crown prince will push toward socioeconomic reforms and make a more friendly and profitable investment environment. If you are interested in investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia, please contact us.