How the ambitious Saudi Vision 2030 can benefit Pakistan

While Saudi Vision 2030 prioritises domestic development, it's also a boon for Pakistan.

Javed Iqbal May 27, 2024

Saudi Vision 2030 is the real manifestation of ushering in a new era of diversified economy, marking a shift from orthodox reliance on petrodollar to converting KSA into a trade hub for Europe, Africa and Asia. Since the launch of vision 2030 in 2016, KSA, under dynamic leadership of MBS, is making strides in creating a new outlook of KSA which is based upon three main pillars: building a vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation.

KSA aims to achieve the first pillar by boosting religious tourism by increasing Umrah visitors from eight million to a staggering 30 million annually, showcasing Islamic history by building the world's largest Islamic museum, building world-class cities by developing Saudi cities to have three ranked among the top 100 globally and promoting the growth of cultural and entertainment opportunities alongside encouraging healthy lifestyle among its citizens.

To bolster its economy, KSA plans to reduce reliance on oil through privatisation and by fostering new industries like tourism, renewable energy and manufacturing while modernising education to have five top-ranked universities by 2030. It also aims to support small businesses to create jobs and boost their contribution to the economy.

Saudi Arabia plans to realise its third pillar by working for a clean governance system. This includes zero tolerance for corruption, increased transparency through online services, and 500,000 better-trained government employees via the King Salman Program.

While Saudi Vision 2030 prioritises domestic development, it's also a boon for Pakistan. Due to its strategic location, skilled workforce, and untapped potential, Pakistan stands to benefit greatly as Saudi Arabia seeks partners for its journey to become a global investment hub.

Owing to this, KSA has announced to invest 20 billion dollars in Pakistan. Pakistan has offered 25 different projects for billion-dollar investments like PIA, privatisation of airports, Basha Dam, Rahim Yar Khan and Ghazi Brotha, Faisalabad transmission lines etc. Considering the financial strain Pakistan is currently facing, the economic revival is a major challenge for the current government. Therefore, the Pakistan government is endeavouring hard to provide a conducive environment for investment through a special investment facilitation Council. The investment by KSA will not only pave the way for steering the country out of the economic crisis but will also prove to be a catalyst for foreign direct investment.

The decades-old history of KSA and Pakistan relations is full of examples of mutual cooperation. Pakistan has always stood with KSA when and where required, and vice versa. In 2021, when Pakistan foreign reserves sharply depleted and the country’s economy was in crisis, KSA deposited three billion dollars in Pakistan’s central bank. Additionally, approximately 27 lac Pakistani professional, skilled workers and businessmen are currently working in Saudi Arabia. They are not only contributing towards the progress and prosperity of KSA but also sending billions of dollars back home as remittances. As per statistical data, Pakistan receives a major share of its remittances from the Pakistani diaspora in KSA.

This journey of economic empowerment is the need of hour for both the countries, especially for Pakistan. KSA is the economic power of the Middle East whereas Pakistan is a military power, therefore, mutual cooperation between the two countries will open new avenues in the sectors of economy and defence.

Javed Iqbal

The writer is a freelance columnist.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


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