Kingdom at a Crossroads: Analysis

  • Go Big or Go Home: The Right Diversification Strategy for Saudi Arabia?

    Rarely a day goes by without a headline about Saudi Arabia and the reforms underway as part of Vision 2030, the plan intended to help Saudi Arabia pivot from an oil-based to a knowledge-based economy. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) is making his rounds internationally, including a much-heralded visit to the United States this week, to increase foreign investments in Saudi Arabia in support of the Vision. However, while Saudi Arabia may be moving away from an oil-based economy, they are not moving away from an energy-based economy. In fact, through investments in petrochemicals and other energy sector opportunities, Saudi Arabia is doubling down on energy—and won’t be able to diversify to a knowledge-based economy without investing in human capital.

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  • Daniels in AXIOS: What to Expect From Saudi Crown Prince's Washington Visit

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  • Saudi Aramco’s Downstream Push Will Increase Its Value

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in the United States Monday to much fanfare. One of the hot topics during the crown prince’s visit is the long-expected, much-anticipated privatization of Saudi Aramco. One major unanswered question surrounding the plan for privatization is where Saudi leadership wants to locate the initial public offering (IPO) for 5 percent of the company. Prevailing wisdom holds that shares will be floated in Riyadh on the Tadawul stock market, while a large portion will be floated either in New York, London, Shanghai, or Hong Kong. It is also possible that Chinese firms will buy a certain amount of the shares privately ahead of the IPO.

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  • What Not to Expect from the Saudi Crown Prince

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the United States has energized the commentariat in Washington. Rarely have I seen more Middle East experts opining excitedly on the personality of and prospects for an Arab leader, on the significant change he has already brought to Saudi Arabia, and on the need to support his efforts to transform his kingdom economically and socially.  And, indeed, this young dynamic leader has taken long-overdue steps—allowing women to drive, reining in the religious police, formulating a vision for economic reform. Perhaps most refreshingly, he has acknowledged that it is OK, and even important, for Saudi citizens to have fun in public—opening movie houses and amusement parks as a start.  (A glass of wine with dinner is not in the cards, however.) 

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  • Saudi Crown Prince Comes to Washington: 5 Things to Watch

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) will arrive in Washington on March 19 for a visit to the United States that includes stops in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and Houston. 

    In Washington, the crown prince will meet US President Donald J. Trump at the White House on March 20. He will also meet members of Trump’s Cabinet, members of the US Congress, and private sector representatives.

    US-Saudi relations, which had become strained under former US President Barack Obama, have warmed under Trump.

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  • Envisioning Reform: The Social Impact of Saudi Arabia’s Transformation Agenda

    On Wednesday, February 28, the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security’s Middle East Security Initiative hosted a discussion on Saudi Arabia’s reform agenda with HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud, vice-president for planning and development of the Saudi General Sports Authority. The conversation focused on Saudi Vision 2030 and socioeconomic transformation underway in the Kingdom. Ambassador Frederic C. Hof, director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council, introduced the discussion and Bina Hussein, associate director of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, moderated the conversation.

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