THE REFORM – MINDED PRINCE
The 32 year old prince Mohammad bin Salman is ready to shape is kingdom into modernization. Breaking the monotonous rules his new ideas are all set to uplift his country.
Posted 12 months ago in International, updated 12 months ago.
THE REFORM – MINDED PRINCE
The Saudi Arab prince had his third meeting with the US President Donald Trump. Mohammad bin Salman, 32, told 60 Minutes that "only death" would inhibit his leadership
Mohammad bin Salman, also known as MBS was announced as Crown Prince of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 21 June 2017. Since then the reform-minded Mohammad bin Salman is set to modernize his country. He is the second most important position in Saudi Arabia, after the king, and he is also designated as king’s successor.
In the last two years, he has been spectacularly dismantling all the old sedate system of family consensus, shared privilege and rigid ultra-conservatism.
But, in this process, MBS is also making a lot of enemies. He has no interest in democratic reforms, but he does want to introduce social reforms and is making some progress on that front. That, too, is making him enemies among the old guard.
He has vowed to improve the status of women, announcing that the ban on women driving will be lifted next year, and limiting the scope of the execrable "guardianship" system, which treats women like children, requiring permission from male guardians for basic activities.
MBS wants to reinvent an economy that became complacent from fantastic oil riches, only to see oil prices crash -- and bring it into the 21st century with his ambitious “Saudi Vision 2030” plan.
The prince startled everyone on last Sunday when he unexpectedly ordered the arrest of some of Saudi Arabia's most powerful men, the billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns the investment firm Kingdom Holding. The government says the wave of arrests, which by some accounts numbers as many as 500, was part of a new anti-corruption campaign which includes Saudi royal’s decision to arrest 11 princes, four ministers and dozens of former ministers shows he is a risk-taker. King Salman has just made MBS chair of a new supreme committee on corruption, with the power to "take any precautionary measures" against corruption, including arrest and seizure of assets.
He laid out a vision of a futuristic economic zone where robots may outnumber humans, drones will carry passengers and omnipresent high-speed internet will be known as “digital air”.
The government has also eased restrictions on the use of video messaging applications like Skype and Whatsapp.
The "National Transformation Programme 2020" aims to capitalize on the Kingdom's youth dividend by opening up the country to more employment opportunities through sports and entertainment and to empower women. Opening the country to more entertainment, allowing musical concerts and even a Comic-Con event (a three-day festival of anime, pop art, video gaming and film-related events in 2017) was part of a wide-ranging push to reform the economy and society and restore what Prince Mohammed bin Salman called the "moderate" face of Islam.
Equally far-reaching are efforts to open up the Kingdom to outsiders, by offering tourist visas for foreigners, from this year, and creating facilities to promote the country as a tourist destination. The Red Sea project, which aims to offer an unparalleled tourist destination, will be developed along with leading global hospitality firms and will not be subject to the Kingdom's conservative rules.
Over 18 million foreigners visited Saudi Arabia in 2017, almost all on pilgrimage to Mecca.
MBS' main foreign policy success so far is gaining the backing of President Trump.