Saudi Arabia Emerges as Leading Global Economic Powerhouse

The special meeting of the World Economic Forum convened in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on April 28th and 29th, under the patronage of Crown Prince and Prime Minister Muhammad bin Salman. The event, which drew the participation of leaders and ministers from various nations, saw Sri Lanka represented by Minister of Economic Affairs Ali Sabri and his accompanying delegation. Noteworthy attendees included prominent figures such as investors, business leaders, economists, and industry experts.

Traditionally hosted in Davos, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum serves as a premier global meeting, attracting a diverse array of attendees including political leaders, investors, economists, and business luminaries. The inception of the World Economic Forum dates back to 1971, initiated by a German engineer with the ambitious goal of advancing economics, trade, politics, and education.

Typically held in Davos, this year’s relocation to Riyadh marks a historic shift, thanks to the efforts of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Muhammad bin Salman. Remarkably, this marks the first time in half a century that the World Economic Forum meeting has ventured beyond the confines of Davos, signifying a new chapter in global dialogue and collaboration.

The global spotlight shines on Riyadh as it hosts the World Economic Forum, drawn by the remarkable progress and accomplishments of Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s “Vision 2030” initiatives. Celebrating the completion of the eighth year of the Vision 2030 program on April 25, the meeting convened over 1,000 eminent diplomats, international experts, economists, and officials under the theme ‘Inclusive growth, global collaboration, and energy for development’. Notably, representatives from 92 countries, including private institutions, multidisciplinary international organizations, and academic institutions, participated fervently.

Despite Saudi Arabia’s status as one of the world’s oil-rich nations, Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s primary objective remains achieving economic diversification away from reliance on oil resources. To this end, the Vision 2030 program has spearheaded numerous transformative development projects, including Neom, hailed as the world’s fifth-largest unique project, alongside Diriyah, Mukaab, Kitiya, the Al-Ula Tourism Center, King Salman and Red Sea International Airport, and Al Riyadh Airline. Additionally, the introduction of the “Visitor Investor” business visa service underscores the nation’s commitment to fostering a conducive environment for investment.
These initiatives stand as a testament to Saudi Arabia’s steadfast commitment to realizing sustainable economic growth and prosperity beyond oil, marking significant milestones in the journey towards a diversified and dynamic economy.

The International Monetary Fund’s decision to establish its regional office in Riyadh comes amidst significant economic advancements in Saudi Arabia, signaling a pivotal moment for the region’s economic landscape. This move is expected to bolster Saudi Arabia’s economic alliances and position the Gulf region as a formidable global player.

Addressing the media, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Economy and Planning, Faisal Al-Ibrahim, emphasized the role of the World Economic Forum as a catalyst for constructive dialogues aimed at addressing global challenges.

Economists have hailed the recent World Economic Forum meeting in Riyadh as a testament to the strong ties between Saudi Arabia and the forum, highlighting the mutual benefits of collaboration.

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has inked a groundbreaking agreement with the World Economic Forum during the Riyadh meeting, paving the way for the establishment of a space center within the kingdom. This initiative aims to propel research, innovation, and the space sector forward in Saudi Arabia.

The recent meeting in Riyadh placed a significant focus on addressing pressing global issues such as humanitarian crises, climate change, and economic challenges. Additionally, attention was drawn to the imperative of finding a resolution to the plight of the Palestinian people.
Concurrently, a collaborative session convened between the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council nations and the US secretaries of state, led by the Saudi Foreign Minister, delved into discussions regarding developments in Gaza and Rafah. Urgent calls for an immediate ceasefire and intensified efforts to provide crucial humanitarian aid underscored the gravity of the situation.

Furthermore, the Council of Ministers assembled by the Arab-Islamic Joint Meeting, also chaired by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, convened to address the unfolding events in the Gaza Strip.

Saudi Arabia’s commitment to promote peace in Palestine has been a cornerstone of its foreign policy, with leaders from King Abdul Aziz Al Saud to the present Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Crown Prince consistently engaging with global counterparts. This dedication to the Palestinian cause underscores the kingdom’s role as a key player in the pursuit of regional stability and cooperation.

Together with its diplomatic efforts, Saudi Arabia has leveraged its burgeoning economic prowess to forge alliances and deepen ties with influential organizations like the G20 and BRICS. The kingdom’s integration into these economic blocs reflects its strategic vision for global engagement and development.

The onset of 2023 heralded a new chapter of economic growth for Saudi Arabia, marked by a series of successful regional and international meetings held in Riyadh. These gatherings have served as platforms for fostering mutually beneficial partnerships and showcasing the kingdom’s evolving role as a hub for dialogue and collaboration on the world stage.

Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has embarked on ambitious projects aimed at achieving economic diversification and nurturing innovation. Among these initiatives, Expo-2030 stands out as a significant milestone in the nation’s history, reflecting its commitment to visionary goals.

In a bid to bolster its economic development, Saudi Arabia has hosted numerous international meetings, including the Arab-Chinese Businessmen’s Meeting, the Saudi-Arab-African Economic Meeting, and the Saudi-Turkey Investment Meeting, among others. These gatherings underscore the kingdom’s efforts to forge strategic partnerships and attract investment from around the globe.
With its robust economy and the implementation of Vision-2030, Saudi Arabia is poised to become a leading hub for innovation and sustainable growth. The nation’s commitment to transforming into a global center for diversification and fostering a vibrant Arab economy signals a new era of opportunity and progress on the horizon.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Muhammad bin Salman, has emerged as a beacon of hope and progress, not only for his nation but for the entire Arabian Peninsula, Muslim communities worldwide, and global economists alike. Under his leadership, Saudi Arabia has witnessed a transformational vision for the future, epitomized by the ambitious Vision 2030 initiative. This comprehensive roadmap aims to propel the kingdom towards unprecedented growth, prosperity, and global significance across all sectors.

Prince Muhammad bin Salman showcased Saudi Arabia’s commitment to shaping contemporary economic thought and promoting international cooperation. With a focus on inclusive growth and economic resilience, Vision 2030 seeks to empower citizens and position Saudi Arabia as a driving force for stability, prosperity, and peace in the region and beyond. The prince’s leadership underscores a dedication to cultivating partnerships with both regional and global stakeholders, leveraging opportunities for mutual benefit and collective progress.
Through strategic alliances and a steadfast commitment to innovation, Saudi Arabia, under the guidance of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, is poised to play an instrumental role in shaping the global economic landscape. With a vision rooted in inclusive growth and cooperation, the kingdom aims to realize its full potential while contributing to the advancement of prosperity and stability on a global scale.
Saudi Arabia stands as a pivotal player in global affairs, actively contributing to the establishment of a robust and sustainable international framework. Emphasizing the importance of collaboration and energy development, Prince Muhammad bin Salman articulated Saudi Arabia’s commitment to international cooperation during a recent address. Alongside its domestic transformations, Saudi Arabia is increasingly asserting its influence on the global stage, with a particular focus on key initiatives that resonate internationally.

The societal landscape of Saudi Arabia has experienced significant evolution, marked by notable economic advancements and increased participation of women in the workforce since 2016. The trajectory set forth by Saudi Vision 2030 symbolizes not an endpoint but a journey towards continued progress. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman outlined this vision for the future during his keynote address at the International Economic Forum, underscoring Saudi Arabia’s untiring dedication to further achievements.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s address at the International Economic Forum served as a blueprint for Saudi Arabia’s future endeavors. With a steadfast commitment to ongoing development and collaboration, the kingdom is poised to chart a course towards even greater accomplishments on both the domestic and international fronts.

During the International Economic Forum in Riyadh, the “InsiderMonkey” magazine underscored the unparalleled influence wielded by Prince Mohammed bin Salman, labeling him as the most formidable leader in the Middle East and the world’s fourth most influential figure, trailing only the presidents of China, the United States, and Russia. As Saudi Arabia emerges as a hub for global gatherings, Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s leadership has elevated the kingdom’s prominence on the international stage, drawing leaders, diplomats, and dignitaries from around the globe seeking engagements with him.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s comprehensive agenda of political and economic reforms has garnered widespread acclaim from world leaders. His initiatives spanning anti-corruption measures, counter-narcotics efforts, and counter-terrorism strategies, coupled with sound economic policies and a commitment to national development, have positioned Saudi Arabia as a leading global player. The prince’s dedication to humanitarian endeavors further solidifies the kingdom’s standing as a beacon of progress and stability.

Under Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s stewardship, Saudi Arabia has become synonymous with impactful reforms and universal recognition. The prince’s visionary programs have propelled the nation to the forefront of global leadership, setting a precedent for effective governance, economic advancement, and international cooperation.

Minister Ali Sabri’s active involvement in the special meeting of the World Economic Forum in Riyadh signals promising economic prospects for Sri Lanka. Saudi Arabia’s commitment to enhancing Sri Lanka’s economy is evident through multifaceted cooperation initiatives. Recently, Economy and Planning Minister Faisal Al Ibrahim’s visit to Sri Lanka culminated in significant agreements aimed at cultivating economic development, following fruitful discussions with President Ranil Wickremesinghe and other government officials.

Furthermore, Saudi Ambassador Khalid Bin Hamood Al Qahtani’s proactive efforts underscore a broader commitment to bolstering Sri Lanka’s economic landscape through bilateral cooperation and assistance programs. These collaborative endeavors between Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka are poised to yield substantial benefits for the latter’s economic advancement.

The successful organization of the meeting, under the auspices of Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, underscores the kingdom’s steadfast commitment to promote global economic cooperation and development. Their leadership ensures that such gatherings serve as platforms for fruitful discussions and tangible outcomes, reinforcing the bonds of cooperation between nations for mutual prosperity.

“During the recent International Economic Forum hosted in Riyadh, global publication “InsiderMonkey highlighted Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s significant influence, positioning him as the foremost leader in the Middle East and among the most powerful figures globally, rivaled only by the presidents of China, the United States, and Russia.”

“The appointment of Hamood al-Qahtani as the Saudi Arabian Honourable Ambassador to Sri Lanka reflects the Kingdom’s commitment to fostering bilateral cooperation and strengthening the Sri Lankan economy through strategic partnerships and diplomatic initiatives led by Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

Moulavi M. H. Shehudeen Madani (BA Hons)
Al Hikma Foundation, Colombo

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