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Explainer: What is Saudi Vision 2030?

Saudi Vision 2030 aims to make the kingdom a hub for Africa, Asia, and Europe and to diversify its economy away from oil.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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Saudi Vision 2030 has been cited as the driving force behind the kingdom's ambitions to become the gaming capital of the world. It's also been credited for the recent boom in the Saudi real estate market. But what is Saudi Vision 2030? 

First announced in 2016, Saudi Vision 2030 is a blueprint to diversify the kingdom's economy away from oil. Spearheaded by Crown Prince HH Mohammed bin Salman, the roadmap aims to improve the resilience of the Saudi economy, make the kingdom a connecting hub between Africa, Asia, and Europe, and create new avenues for job creation.

Saudi Vision 2030’s targets include increasing the contribution of the private sector to GDP to 65% by 2030, increasing SME contribution from 20% to 35% of GDP, increasing FDI contribution to GDP to 5.8%, and increasing the contribution of non-oil exports to non-oil GDP to 50%. It also aims to increase women’s participation in the workforce from 22% to 30%.

Central to Saudi Vision 2030 is developing sectors such as tourism, entertainment, technology, and renewable energy as key drivers of economic growth.

The Public Investment Fund

A key vehicle of Saudi Vision 2030, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) is one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds. In addition to investing in companies at home and abroad, PIF has spearheaded and funded companies managing Saudi giga-projects like NEOM, Red Sea Global, Qiddiya, ROSHN, and Diriyah Company.

The vision’s goals include increasing PIF’s assets to $1.86 trillion by 2030, up from $160 billion. In July 2022, PIF had $700 billion in assets under management, with an estimated 70% of its investments going to Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this year, PIF announced plans to increase its annual capital deployment to $70 billion after 2025, up from $40-50 billion currently.

A Diversified Business Environment

To attract domestic and foreign investment, Saudi has introduced special economic zones, launched a privatization program, and introduced new regulations to protect intellectual property rights.

In 2019, Saudi launched the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP) to bolster the kingdom’s position across the energy, mining, logistics, and industry sectors globally. In 2021, the NIDLP and the Saudi Export Development Authority launched Made in Saudi to help local businesses expand locally and globally.

Saudi Arabia has also made investments in education, training, and healthcare to support human capital development.

Growing the Private Sector

Established in 2021, Shareek, or “Partner" in Arabic, was established to accelerate the growth of private sector investment by supporting large Saudi companies. The project aims to unlock $1.33 trillion in domestic private sector investments by 2030.

In March 2023, Shareek announced 12 projects in four sectors to create more than 64,000 local jobs by 2040. With a combined project investment of $51.2 billion, the companies are poised to contribute $32 billion, with an anticipated GDP impact of $124 billion by 2040.

Entertainment and Wellness

Launched in 2018, the Quality of Life Program focuses on supporting arts and culture, promoting active lifestyles through sports, and creating liveable communities.

The program includes the Events Investment Fund (EIF), the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), and the Royal Institute of Traditional Arts.

The program aligns with Vision 2030’s aims to increase household spending on cultural and entertainment activities inside the kingdom from 2.9% to 6% and to increase life expectancy from 74 to 80 years. 

Driving Sustainability

Introduced in 2021, the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) aims to accelerate the kingdom's climate action agenda. Since its inception, SGI has activated 77 initiatives, with investments exceeding $186 billion.

Launched by Saudi Arabia in 2021, The Middle East Green Initiative (MGI) is a regional coalition that aims to address the challenges posed by climate change in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Megatourism and New Urban Areas

Another component of Saudi Vision 2030, megatourism and new urban projects are being developed to improve livability and attract tourists to the kingdom. Some of Saudi Vision 2030’s most prominent megatourism and urban projects include NEOM, The Red Sea Project, and Qiddiya.

NEOM, which is spearheaded by PIF, is an urban area in northwest Saudi Arabia. Expected to be mostly completed by 2039, it will include the linear city, THE LINE; the floating industrial complex of Oxagon; the adventure sports destination Trojena; and an island destination, Sindalah

Located on the western coast of Saudi Arabia, the Red Sea Project is a 28,000-square-kilometer tourism megaproject developed by PIF-owned Red Sea Global. Built around an archipelago with more than 90 unspoiled islands, deserts, beaches, mountains, volcanoes, and a lagoon, it will include 8,000 rooms spread across 50 hotels and 1,000 residential properties upon completion in 2030.

The entertainment and tourism megaproject Qiddiya City is slated to become the kingdom’s epicenter for sports, entertainment, and culture. When complete, it will include international sports arenas, concert venues, sports and arts academies, a racetrack, outdoor adventure activities, and theme parks. 

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