Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman seeks investment for Saudi’s ‘Vision 2030’

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman seeks investment for Saudi’s ‘Vision 2030’


Isabelle Meere, Content Producer

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, HRH Mohammed bin Salman, will visit the UK on 7 March to begin a three-week global tour aimed at strengthening ties and encouraging international investment.

The visit is part of the ‘Vision 2030’ plan, which promotes social and economic reform to help open up the Saudi economy and catalyse growth over the next 15 years.

Economic reform and international investment is necessary for Saudi Arabia following a considerable drop in revenue linked to falling oil prices in 2014. Earnings from oil revenue were US$134 billion in 2016, down from US$322 billion in 2013.

The government has been spending foreign exchange reserves and its sovereign wealth fund, whilst also cutting subsidies on gas and electricity, cutting government salaries and implementing a value-added-tax, Forbes reports.

These measures are politically sensitive, prompting the monarchy to seek foreign investment to build the economy and increase revenue.

Saudi Arabia is particularly looking for investment in several areas including education, entertainment, healthcare and innovation. This is of interest to UK and European companies as many have special expertise in these fields, but find difficulties in engaging with Saudi Arabia on a political and regulatory level.

According to a UK government statement, Vision 2030 ‘will provide opportunities for British businesses to help support delivery in areas such as education, entertainment and healthcare where they have world-class expertise.’

The British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, has been extremely positive regarding the upcoming visit. Writing for The Times this week, he praised the Crown Prince’s efforts to introduce reform to Saudi Arabia. Mr Johnson also suggested that the British government and potential investors should use this visit to learn about opportunities in Saudi Arabia as well as promote further reform of social and economic issues.

There will be difficulties in increasing international investment, including opening up the Saudi economy, reducing concerns surrounding corruption and state intervention, as well as wider geopolitical problems in the region. The reforms already undertaken by the Crown Prince, however, and his strengthening hold on power, indicate the monarchy’s willingness to implement reform and foster improved international relations and international investment.

Trade and investment flows in the Middle East will be some of the themes explored during Asia House’s major conference in Dubai on 22 April, part of the Asia House Middle East Programme. Find out more.