As Saudi Arabia celebrates its 93rd National Day on September 23, the Kingdom stands at a pivotal juncture in its history, marked by remarkable advancements towards achieving its Vision 2030 goals.
As residents and expatriates across the nation celebrate National Day, Saudi Arabia is not only recognizing but also celebrating the remarkable strides it has made in the pursuit of economic diversification, social transformation, and sustainable development.
Vision 2030, announced in 2016 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, represents a visionary blueprint aimed at propelling Saudi Arabia into a new era of prosperity, innovation, and global prominence.
Over the past few years, Saudi Arabia has undergone a series of transformative changes that underscore its commitment to realizing the Vision 2030 goals. These achievements span various sectors, reflecting the nation’s comprehensive approach to development.
To commemorate the 93rd Saudi National Day, held under the theme ‘We Dream and Achieve’, Al Arabiya English is taking a look at some of the progress the country has made towards its goals.
One of the cornerstones of Vision 2030 was to reduce the Kingdom’s reliance on oil revenues.
Saudi Arabia has made significant headway in this goal by diversifying its economy through investments in sectors such as tourism, sports, technology, renewable energy, and entertainment.
The Kingdom has invested heavily in tourism by providing travelers from within the country and abroad an array of entertainment activities and adventures to attract regional and international markets.
Earlier this year, the Chief Executive Officer of the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) Fahd Hamidaddin had told the Arabian Travel Market that tourism would be “the new oil” for the Kingdom.
“The world in the 1920s came to Saudi for oil. Now, in the 2020s, the world will come for tourism – the new oil,” he said at the time.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia's strategic investments in sports, ranging from football to MMA, have accelerated economic diversification.
“The fastest way for Saudi Arabia to reach its desired goals of transforming and developing is economy is through sports. Sports investments increase the potential of the Kingdom achieving its goals by ten folds,” sports marketing specialist and writer Khalid al-Rubian told Al Arabiya English earlier this month.
“Sports is a language with which you can reach the furthest heights. Saudi Arabia’s sports investment strategy is a small, but essential, part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals,” he said.
The Saudi football league's transformative development plan, attracting international stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and Neymar, has not only garnered global attention but also witnessed unprecedented growth in global fan engagement, with local and international spectators watching and attending games.
Moreover, the establishment of NEOM, the Kingdom’s $500 billion futuristic mega-city, and the expansion of the Red Sea Project epitomize the nation’s forward-looking approach to economic development.
According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) most recent report on the Kingdom, the investments have been successful.
Saudi Arabia was the fastest-growing G20 economy in 2022 with a rate of 8.7 percent, and with its non-oil GDP growing at about 4.8 percent.
The IMF report projected that the Kingdom’s non-oil GDP growth would continue, and that average growth will reach 4.9 percent in 2023 – driven by strong consumption spending and the rise of private investments through projects and programs.
Saudi Arabia's social reforms have played a pivotal role in reshaping the nation. The historic decision to allow women to drive, the opening of cinemas, and the relaxation of dress codes have all contributed to a more inclusive and modern Saudi Arabia.
These changes have not only empowered Saudi citizens but have also attracted international attention and investment. The Kingdom has placed significant emphasis on enhancing the quality of life by offering a diverse array of entertainment activities suitable for all age groups throughout the year.
From Riyadh Season to Al Ula Moments, travelers and locals alike can expect year-round entertainment options that reflect Saudi Arabia's commitment to social progress.
Saudi Arabia has taken significant strides toward a sustainable future. The Kingdom's commitment to renewable energy sources, including the ambitious Green Saudi and Green Middle East initiatives, aims to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had announced the Saudi Green Initiative in March 2021, saying that the Kingdom is “fully aware of [its] share of responsibility in advancing the fight against the climate crisis.”
Since then, the government has launched more than 60 initiatives that are centered on reducing emissions, afforestation, and land and sea protection.
“We are ushering in a new green era for the region; in which we are collectively leading and reaping its fruits, in our joint belief that the effects of climate change are not limited to the natural environment only, but also to the economy and security of our nations,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said during the announcement.
Saudi Arabia is committed to have 50 percent of its power come from renewable sources by 2030.
Notably, projects like THE LINE in NEOM will rely on 100 percent renewable energy, creating an environment free of roads, cars, and emissions.
Beyond transitioning to a domestic power mix, the SGI includes investing in new energy sources, improving energy efficiency, and developing a carbon capture and storage program.
Saudi Arabia’s goal of planting 10 billion trees across the country is set to not only rehabilitate 40 million hectares of land, but also help restore vital ecological functions, improve air quality, and reduce sandstorms.
These endeavors align Saudi Arabia with global efforts to protect the environment for future generations.
Saudi National Day celebrations
As the nation gears up for National Day festivities, which are expected to be more vibrant than ever, Saudi citizens and residents alike have much to celebrate. The progress made towards achieving the Vision 2030 goals demonstrates Saudi Arabia’s dedication to a prosperous and inclusive future.
The festivities are expected to include dazzling fireworks, cultural performances, and an array of events showcasing the Kingdom's rich heritage and traditions. Moreover, it will be a time for reflection on the remarkable journey the nation has embarked upon since the inception of Vision 2030.
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