In recent weeks, Saudi Arabia has made significant strides in positioning itself as a major global player.
The kingdom has welcomed a number of high-profile guests, including Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, who was long ostracized by the international community. This move was seen as a bold diplomatic move, as the US and European countries still sanction him for war crimes.
Additionally, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was also welcomed, as he battles Russia’s invasion of his country with Western support. This was a complicated situation, as Moscow backs Assad in Syria’s war. However, having Zelenskiy and Assad in the same ornate hall signaled Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s desire for Saudi Arabia to be a major foreign power.
At just 37 years old, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is the youngest Arab leader in attendance, and he is setting his sights on the long haul.
Riyadh is investing tens of billions of dollars in arts, culture, and sports, and building up a leisure and tourism sector from scratch.
This plan is aimed at getting foreigners to invest, vacation, and live in Saudi Arabia by showing them that it’s more welcoming than they may think.
The kingdom has signed on football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and lured Argentinian maestro Lionel Messi as a tourism ambassador, and potentially as a player in a local club. This move is meant to make people sit up and pay attention to the kingdom, and boosting the sector will also create jobs in a country where around 70% of the population is under the age of 35.
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 is a bold and ambitious plan that seeks to position the kingdom as a major global player.
With a focus on investing in arts, culture, and sports, and building up a leisure and tourism sector, the kingdom is showing the world that it is more than just an oil-rich nation.