Profile: Who is Saudi's new minister of state?

Prince Mohammad bin Salman was named minister of state is to replace prince Abdulaziz bin Fahad

Eman El-Shenawi
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Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz on Friday appointed Prince Mohammad bin Salman as a minister of state and member of the Council of Ministers, in what observers have described as an empowering message to younger generations in the kingdom.

Prince Mohammad, the son of Crown Prince Salman, has served as an adviser at the experts’ commission of the Council of Ministers. He also previously served as the special advisor to the governor of the Riyadh province. The royal decree stated the outgoing minister of state, Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahad, would be “relieved” from his post upon his request.

Following his appointment, Prince Mohammad issued a statement saying: “This appointment which King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has honored me with is a responsibility first.”

“I ask god the almighty to help me carry this responsibility and perform the mission and obligations of this appointment according to the vision and aspirations of the Custodian of the Two Holly Mosques,” Prince Mohammad added.

The prince is involved in charitable causes and social initiatives that aim to support youth and their career aspirations in the kingdom.

In 2011, the prince founded the Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz charity foundation, known as the MISK Foundation.

Speaking to Al Arabiya News on Saturday, Dr. Azzam Al Dakhil, a board member at MISK, said Prince Mohammad’s appointment comes as a result to the role which Prince Mohammad has succeeded in at his capacity as head of the Crown Prince Court (CPC), where he watched-over the highest-level of political decision-making in the kingdom.


A message to the youth

Al Dakhil also described the royal decree as “exceptionally significant” as Prince Mohammad will be allowed to remain head of the Crown Prince Court as well have a Cabinet position.

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“Combining both roles helps create better coordination between the Crown Prince Court and the Cabinet, where he has repeatedly served as a member of the experts commission,” Al Dakhil said.

Also, the appointment is seen as a message from the Saudi leadership to the kingdom’s younger generation. By appointing a younger member of the royal family as minister of state the king’s royal decree seeks to “empower and give greater responsibilities to the younger generation,” Al Dakhil said

“This is an indicator of how far-sighted the Saudi leadership is and that it is keen to send across a reassuring message of stability,” he added.


Getting to know Prince Mohammad

Al Dakhil says that since working with Prince Mohammad at MISK, he has gotten to know the Prince better.

“He likes to listen carefully to differing opinions on any subject he is working on. He is always looking for a professional opinion, something different to viewpoints he may already be aware of. He reads all documents submitted to him, spending much time thoroughly going through the details,” said Al Dakhil.

And what expertise can the prince bring to his new role?

“He comes from a legal background, and so is very apt at understanding regulations and legislation and applies the latest technologies to his work.

“MISK cares a lot about inspiring knowledge, creativity and empowering young people. His Royal Highness believes that the younger generations in the country, who constitute maybe 70 percent of it, deserve better. And better is what the king and the crown prince want to achieve,” Al Dakhil added.

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