Last Updated: Thu Sep 06, 2012 16:38 pm (KSA) 13:38 pm (GMT)

Saudi program launched after study reveals 89% of youth careless with spending

A survey found that 11 percent of the Kingdom’s youth keep track of their spending, while 80 percent of income goes on mobile phones and travel. (Photo courtesy: The New York Times)
A survey found that 11 percent of the Kingdom’s youth keep track of their spending, while 80 percent of income goes on mobile phones and travel. (Photo courtesy: The New York Times)

A recently launched corporate social responsibility program has revealed shocking facts and figures relating to the Saudi youth.

During an event held at the Jeddah headquarters of Saudi wealth management company, SEDCO Holding, results of a survey that the company has shown that 11 percent of the Kingdom’s youth keep track of their spending and 80 percent of income goes on mobile phones and travel while 46 percent rely on parents for funding big purchases.

These findings are exactly why SEDCO chose to launch “Riyali,” which addresses the need to educate the Saudi population on financial literacy and empower people with the personal financial skills required to achieve a desirable standard of living. The first phase of this program targets college students.

Announcing the program, Dr. Adnan Soufi, CEO of SEDCO Holding, said, “We have selected financial literacy as our flagship social responsibility initiative. The program aims to enable upcoming generations with crucial skills to manage their personal income.”


Riyali will reach 50,000 beneficiaries over the next five years, aiming to impact 15,000 university students in its first phase. As the program expands, other demographic groups will be included.

SEDCO employee volunteers will serve as ambassadors to train the students on Financial Literacy through a curriculum focused on basic savings, budgeting, investing, and borrowing. Sessions will be evaluated immediately upon completion and the students tested on the information and knowledge shared during the course.

Riyali will be carried out at universities using a series of interactive workshops that will bring about a change in youth behavior towards financial planning and responsibility. Hence, it will create a difference in their overall spending and saving habits.

In developing the program SEDCO partnered with Operation Hope, a leading global social empowerment non-profit organization founded in 1992 with a mission to expand economic opportunity through financial literacy education. To date, Operation Hope has served over 2 million people in the United States, Haiti, South Africa, and Morocco.

John Hope Bryant, founder and Chief Executive of Operation Hope attended the launch where he addressed the attendees explaining the importance of speaking the language of money.

“If you don’t understand the language of money and you don’t have a bank account, you are risking becoming a slave to today’s financial system” he said.

Bryant also announced that he is committed to learn Arabic within 1 year after he fell in love with the language and culture.

SEDCO Group’s investment and wealth management company, SEDCO Capital, has also contributed to the development of Riyali by helping to construct the curriculum. Its staff will be the main source of ambassadors who will give participants in the program the benefit of their expertise in the same way they advise companies and corporations but adapted for personal financial management at an individual level.

Hasan Aljabri, CEO of SEDCO Capital, said: “We here at SEDCO Capital believe that the value of any economy is the individual and he alone is able to extract the wealth of the land and use its resources to supplement technologies, industry, agriculture and various aspects of science and the arts.”

Leading educational institutions in the Kingdom, including King Abdulaziz University, Effat University, Dar Al Hekma College and the College of Business Administration, have partnered in the initiative.

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