Today is the birthday of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the godfather of renewal who inspired change in Saudi Arabia and became a beacon of light and hope in these dire times at the local, regional, and international levels.
The key question on this day is, what did Mohammed bin Salman change?
First: for the first time ever, the Kingdom has a clear action plan, defined by specific timeframes and serious targets and harmoniously encompassing all sectors. The plan, which leverages the Kingdom’s resources and strategic geographical position, focuses on ending “oil addiction” and defines the features, needs, and budgets of coming years without any improvisation or confusion.
Second: he underlined that “humans come first,” no matter their citizenship or identity. The reform included both Saudis and non-Saudis and involved women and children before men even. Disciplined personal liberties were legitimized under a just system that applies to all without exception or bias.
Third: he turned the fight against corruption into a priority, questioning big figures even before small ones. As promised, no one escaped accountability: not princes, not ministers, no one. Honesty became a key feature of the Saudi government in the eyes of the international community, as proven by international indicators. Some states even began applying the Saudi strict and serious approach.
Fourth: he re-sorted states in the region and restored everything to its normal size. He reaffirmed the Kingdom’s exceptional ability to lead the Arab and Islamic worlds and its position as a safety valve for the peace project in the region, a strong state with reliable alliances, and a leader in many fields.
Fifth: he took the Saudi economy to the next level with serious reforms that restructured markets and diversified income sources, as he created new streams to support the state’s oil income, all in record time compared to many international experiences and standards.
All the while, the Kingdom was witnessing significant social reforms, serious educational development, the creation of a real tourism and entertainment system, the building of promising megaprojects across all sectors, the establishment of smart cities that keep pace with global change and local needs, as well as a structural reform and overhaul of official institutions.
All this (and more) was happening against the backdrop of accelerating global changes that caused oil prices to fluctuate and even collapse at times, not to mention the many geopolitical changes, the arrival of extremist governments to power in many countries, the COVID-19 crisis, and others. This is why we say: the advent of Mohammed bin Salman was a lifeline for the whole world, not just for us.
Imagine the Kingdom in a state of economic or political weakness: what scenarios would arise? Besides the scenario of collapse, of course, which is the dream of our enemies...
This article was originally published in and translated from Saudi newspaper al-Riyadh.