Mohammed bin Salman: A Year as Crown Prince and of Achievements

Mohammed bin Salman: A Year as Crown Prince and of Achievements

Friday, 22 June, 2018 - 05:45
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
Riyadh – Badr al-Kharif
It has been a year since Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz appointed on June 21, 2017 Prince Mohammed bin Salman as Crown Prince.

The year that followed witnessed numerous achievements that have transformed Saudi Arabia into a major global player.

Ever since the young royal entered the political fray, he has focused on several thorny political, economic, development and intellectual issues and their local, regional and international impacts. He succeeded in establishing a solid foundation to launch a new policy for the Kingdom that allows it to tackle the present and future through a clear strategy that goes beyond traditional temporary solutions.

NEOM Project

It would be difficult to summarize the accomplishments Prince Mohammed achieved during one year. He has launched a series of initiatives that focus on employing the Kingdom’s massive potential instead of focusing on oil as the only source of income. This is based on his belief that a promising future is in store for Saudi Arabia and that its people have only exploited ten percent of their potential. He has also realized the significance of Saudi Arabia’s location at an intersection between Asia, Africa and Europe.

He therefore launched in October 2017 the massive NEOM investment project in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 that aims to transform the Kingdom into a global pioneer in all sectors of life. The project was bolstered with $500 billion from the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), as well as local and international investors.

Al-Qiddiya and recreational projects

In addition to the NEOM and Red Sea projects, Prince Salman launched the al-Qiddiya project as part of his and King Salman’s strategy for recreation, sports and culture to play a major role in shaping the Kingdom’s future. Located near the capital Riyadh, the project will provide some $30 billion in revenue and create new job opportunities for Saudi youth.

Furthermore, and as part of Vision 2030’s social and economic transformation program, Saudi Arabia officially reopened cinemas in the Kingdom, which could generate $1 billion in ticket sales a year. Youths under 30 years of age make up the majority of Saudi Arabia’s population of 32 million, making it the largest market for moviegoers in the Arab Gulf region.

The Vision also met decades-long demands for Saudi women to be allowed to drive. Women have also been allowed to enter stadiums for the first time to attend sports events.

Economic partnerships

Crown Prince Mohammed focused on vital partnerships with major countries that boast strong economies. He made investments in the right places to build a strong and sustainable Saudi economy.

Currently, $230 billion a year is spent outside the Kingdom. This figure is set to rise to $300-400 billion by 2030. Prince Mohammed’s vision aims for half of those funds to be spent inside Saudi Arabia through privatization. Topping these plans are the launching of Aramco’s initial public offering and increasing investment through the PIF. The goal is for PIF to become the world’s largest investment fund worth $2 trillion. Half of these funds will be invested in the Kingdom and the other half abroad to ensure that Saudi Arabia will be part of nascent sectors throughout the world.

Peace and moderate Islam

On the religious and ideological levels, Prince Mohammed has stressed that Islam is the religion of peace. He has slammed the triangle of evil, of Iran, Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist organizations, that is promoting the idea that “Muslims have a duty to re-establish the caliphate and build their own empire through violence and according to their ideologies and interests.” The Crown Prince rejects this approach, explaining that the Prophet Mohammed never advocated such views. People in non-Islamic countries have the power to choose their own beliefs.

We no longer have a duty to fight to spread Islam, but the triangle of evil wants to manipulate Muslims and mislead them into believing that it is their duty to establish an Islamic empire through violence and according to an ideology devised by this axis.

Moreover, Prince Mohammed declared earlier this year that there was no such thing as Wahhaism.

“No one can define Wahhabism. There is no Wahhabism. We don’t believe we have Wahhabism. We believe we have, in Saudi Arabia, Sunni and Shiite. We believe we have within Sunni Islam four schools of thought, and we have the ulema [the religious authorities] and the Board of Fatwas [which issues religious rulings]. Yes, in Saudi Arabia it’s clear that our laws are coming from Islam and the Quran, but we have the four schools—Hanbali, Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki—and they argue about interpretation,” he told The Atlantic in April.

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