World reacts to Saudi Arabia’s ‘Vision 2030’
Arab leaders, global economic analysts and the stock markets reacted favorably to the announcement of a new Saudi roadmap
Arab leaders and international analysts reacted to the unveiling of Saudi Vision 2030 and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s exclusive interview with Al Arabiya on Monday, with many calling the announcement "bold and ambitious."
British ambassador to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Simon Collis in comments to Al Arabiya English said: “We welcome the National Vision’s commitment to diversification and development. We will continue to engage closely with Saudi Arabia as the National Vision is implemented, and look forward to the detailed National Transformation Plan. Throughout the transformations ahead, both our government and our private sector will readily share our experience, and partner Saudi organizations to mutual benefit.”
Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed tweeted “the Saudi Vision 2030 is an ambitious program from the decisive king and the man who makes historical decisions.”
He also said that “Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s interview [in which he discussed the vision] was an honor to future generations and the vision looks to benefit the kingdom and the region as a whole.”
UAE Vice President and Dubai Ruler Mohammed bin Rashid also weighed in on the announcement, taking to Twitter to say: “I carefully followed the announcement like others today. The vision is filled with ambition and hope for the kingdom and the region under a young leadership that will surprise the world with its achievements.”
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister also reacted on social media saying that Saudi Deputy Crown Prince’s interview with Al Arabiya’s General Manager and veteran journalist Turki al-Dakhil "was a breath of fresh air."
A US spokesman said in comments to Al Arabiya English: “The United States welcomes Saudi Arabia’s initiative to implement an economic vision for diversifying its economy and meeting the aspirations of its citizens. We look forward to hearing more details on Saudi Arabia’s National Transformation Program.
“The United States partners closely with Saudi Arabia in a variety of fields, including trade and investment, and we stand ready to be strengthen that partnership through additional efforts to help Saudi Arabia create more economic diversification, jobs, and prosperity.
“Additionally, the President and the Gulf Cooperation Council leaders committed at the April 21 summit in Riyadh to initiate a US-GCC economic dialogue that will provide a forum to discuss GCC countries’ plans to adopt new policies that could make available additional resources to meet their citizens’ needs, and more broadly facilitate a dialogue on the challenges posed by low oil prices and growing youth populations. This ministerial dialogue will complement extensive US bilateral economic and investment cooperation with GCC members, as well as ongoing engagement with GCC countries on energy and climate policy.”
Analysts were also quick to react through statements and analyses.
Christopher H. Johnson, chairman of the Middle East Council of American Chambers of Commerce, wrote for the National Council on US-Arab relations, “These changes not only promise greater economic stability to the Kingdom – a key regional and global energy, commercial, and security partner to the United States – but also present an opportunity for American companies to invest reliable long-term capital in a wide range of sectors and regions.”
محمد بن زايد : رؤية المملكة 2030 التنموية برنامج طموح من ملك الحزم ورجل القرارات التاريخية— أخبار محمد بن زايد (@MBZNews) April 25, 2016
(Translation: The Saudi Vision 2030 is an ambitious program from the decisive king and the man who makes historical decisions.)
Business and economic analysts also reacted to the news, one being Ali al-Nasser, fund manager at London-based duet group, which has more than $1 billion invested in Middle East and North African strategies.
“The question is now again about execution. He said all of the right things, it is a matter of putting it all to work, and he seems to be very keen and very focused and all else being equal, there is pretty strong momentum behind it, and locally there is strong support for his agenda,” al-Nasser wrote.
تابعت باهتمام مثل غيري إطلاق #رؤية_السعودية_2030 اليوم .. رؤية مليئة بالطموح والأمل للمملكة وللمنطقة ..وقيادة شابة ستفاجأ العالم بإنجازاتها— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) April 25, 2016
(Translation: I carefully followed the announcement like others today. The vision is filled with ambition and hope for the kingdom and the region under a young leadership that will surprise the world with its achievements.)
Masood Ahmed, International Monetary Fund director for the Middle East and Central Asia, said the plan's objective of diversifying the economy away from oil is "exactly the kind of transformation that an economy like Saudi Arabia needs."
"I think the real issue is going to be how to make sure that these very sensible and ambitious objectives can be translated into real changes," he said.
Stock market reactions
Ali al-Nasser, fund manager at London-based duet group, which has more than $1 billion invested in Middle East and North African strategies said the stock market reacted positively to the interview and some of the headlines that have been coming out.
Saudi Arabia’s stock market reacted favorably following the Al Arabiya interview and recovered from early losses on Monday and jumped 2.5 percent as Prince Mohammed announced the economic reforms.
The vision is set to prepare Saudi Arabia for an era in which it does not rely heavily on oil, as well as including a highly-anticipated National Transformation Plan (NTP). The plan, spearheaded by Prince Mohammed, will include vast reforms asset sales, tax increases, spending cuts, changes to the way the state manages its financial reserves, an efficiency drive, and a much bigger role for the private sector.
Chief among these will be opening up state-owned oil-giant Aramco to becoming a holding company and its planned partial initial public offering (IPO) is set to become the biggest in history.
The vision will also incorporate restructuring plans toward military industry deals tied to Saudi manufacturing, as well as the introduction of a Green Card program that will allow Arabs and Muslims to remain, move and invest in the kingdom for a long period of time.