Can Saudi Arabia Pivot Away from Oil? A Powerful Prince Brings His Pitch to America.
by Brian Murphy (The Washington Post) … When Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, begins meetings this week in Washington and New York, he will be pitching an audacious idea: How the kingdom wants to reinvent its economy and move away from its dependence on oil sales to keep everything afloat.
The 30-year-old prince – the son of King Salman and third in line for the throne – has emerged as the front man for the so-called Saudi Vision 2030, which is nothing short of a top-to-bottom rethink of how the kingdom takes in money (more investments, new taxes) and how it spends it (fewer subsidies, less government largesse).
There are significant obstacles in the way.
Yet Saudi leaders are doing everything they can to show they are serious about a pivot from oil, which has clawed back to around $50 a barrel. No one, however, foresees a big jump in crude prices in years to come.
So oil-centric nations have been busy looking for different ways to bring in cash. Qatar has been on an international buying spree for years with its huge sovereign wealth fund. The United Arab Emirates has an open-door policy for big investors and well-heeled tourists.
OPEC’s top producer is now trying to catch up. The Saudi economic retooling began in April with plans to sell shares in the centerpiece of the kingdom’s oil economy, the petro-giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co., universally known as Aramco. READ MORE / MORE