Saudi Arabia announces plan to end 'addiction' to fossil fuels
"The oil today became like the constitution — the holy book, the Sunnah , and the oil — and that is very dangerous. We have addiction to oil in Saudi Arabia. Everyone has it." - Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
It may be hard to picture Saudi Arabia without oil, but that is what Mohammed bin Salman is selling in his "Vision 2030" plan. It would mean big changes for a kingdom synonymous with oil— and oil wealth.
At a time when crude prices are low and the world is focused on cutting carbon, the plan sees Saudi Arabia setting up a massive sovereign wealth fund. It would make investments in the country's future source of wealth, rather than oil sales.
Saudi Arabia's citizens have grown used to a lot of perks living in a wealthy oil state, such as highly subsidized fuel, water and electricity. But the country's middle class has been watching anxiously as oil prices have fallen for months — and continued to fall.
The "Vision 2030" includes plans to relax residency laws, build affordable housing, and even start collecting some taxes. All changes with the potential for major ripple effects inside Saudi Arabia, across the Arab World, and throughout the global economy.
Guests in this segment:
- Aya Batrawy, reporter with the Associated Press, covering the Arabian Peninsula.
- Karen Young, senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.
This segment was produced by The Current's Karin Marley, Julian Uzielli and Josh Bloch.