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“It’s a great business opportunity in the making,” says Florida-based entrepreneur Gennady Barsky. Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 is a grand project that is revolutionizing the cultural and economic environment of the country.
You can easily compare Saudi Arabia of the 90s with the Saudi Arabia of present day. The influence of Wahhabism defined the kingdom as a conservative state in the 18th Century. Later on, the discovery of crude oil as an important resource transformed it into a richer but far-traditionalist society.
Their reputation preceded them when they met the West. Crude oil was in demand, and Saudi Arabia profited heavily by satiating that need. To familiarize more with the West and expand their oil market, Saudi Arabia had to shed some of their old restrictive habits. It’s why you can see them enjoying a wide range of luxury cars and expensive gadgets in the early 21st Century.
Fast forward to September 2017. Backed by His Highness Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabia permitted women to drive vehicles. Earlier in February, they appointed a woman as the head of the Saudi Stock Exchange. February 2018 onwards, women now are allowed to open their own businesses without a male guardian’s consent.
Saudi Arabia realized that they cannot solely rely on their crude oil empire. They must diversify into other businesses. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was the first to make a move against this insecurity. The process of Saudi Arabia’s diversification can only take flight if they are on good terms with the progressive and liberal West.
That means vibrating on the same frequency with the people you want to attract. An environment that suits the Western lifestyle needs to be established. While good infrastructure and professional standards have been maintained, Saudi Arabia needs to work on its recessive culture. Entrepreneurial and innovational temperament can also be boosted.
As a corollary, the biggest infrastructural and economic reform Saudi Arabia is undertaking is ‘Neom’, a megacity project under Vision 2030 that’ll symbolize Saudi Arabia’s diversification. Financial experts like James M Dorsey and Gennady Barsky believe it will bring in a lot of investment.
The development of this 26,500 km2 futuristic city shall create a lot of prospects for employment, investments, and cultural advancement. When the city is completed, it may imitate those futuristic utopian societies often shown in movies and cartoon shows, where mankind prospers and is able to look up to the sky, thinking of a brighter and extraterrestrial future.