TechnologyTop Stories
GBO_Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Vision 2040: Biotech, AI and sports emerge Kingdom’s new interest areas

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a plan to raise health standards in Saudi Arabia, promote food and water security, and develop domestic businesses to offset imports

According to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia plans to start working on the next phase of its economic diversification plan, known as “Vision 2030,” and intends to present “Vision 2040” as early as 2027.

“We’re working to close a few items now; our goal is to do so in the first part of 2024. After that, we’ll move on to implementation, begin getting ready for Vision 2040, and make the announcement in 2027 or 2028. When questioned about the government’s current objectives,” he told Fox News, while adding, “So that’s the main issue we are focused on.”

With backing from significant financial institutions and nations, the crown prince has been the driving force behind the initiative to diversify the economy of the world’s top oil exporter away from oil by 2030 and alter one of the most conservative cultures in the world.

Since the first announcement of Vision 2030 in 2016, the non-oil sector’s share of GDP has increased marginally, from 43.3% to 45.7% in the first half of 2023. Consultancies like McKinsey assisted in the formulation of the plan.

With the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic ending in 2020, oil prices recovered, which allowed the Kingdom, which has the largest economy in the Arab world, to move on with giga-projects worth USD 1.25 trillion.

These include the Red Sea Project and Amaala resorts, tech city Neom, the Roshn and Jeddah Central housing projects, entertainment cities Qiddiyya and Seven, five economic zones, and other infrastructure projects.

Although further reductions in oil production in 2024 have helped drive oil prices to over USD 90, giving state oil company Aramco a financial windfall, the economy has suffered a slowdown in GDP growth and banks are finding it difficult to meet the demands of giga-projects.

According to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, he wants Saudi Arabia’s economy to rank among the top seven in the world, while citing growth in industries like tourism and sports, especially e-sports.

Talking from the Red Sea in Neom, he declared, “We’ll continue doing sport-washing if it increases my GDP by 1%. I’m not bothered. My GDP has increased by 1% because of sports, and I want to increase it by another 1%.”

Neom, in the neighbouring highlands with winter snowfall, will host the Asian Winter Games in 2029. The government wants the number of annual tourists to increase from 40 million to 100 million by 2030.

He stated that Saudi Arabia should view the Brics bloc, which extended an invitation to join last month, as an economic rather than a political relationship.

“We are seeing that if we continue without being part of a group inside the G20 that might really create hurdles for us,” he stated, putting pressure on Washington to sign a defence agreement that would guarantee Saudi Arabia’s defence budget for the foreseeable future.

“You don’t want to witness Saudi Arabia moving its weapons from the United States to another location. Thus, that document will reinforce that and the security of the United States of America. and it will spare Saudi Arabia the hassle of not moving elsewhere,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman remarked.

Emphasis On Biotechnology

To lead the biotech sector in the region by 2030 and the world by 2040, Saudi Arabia has unveiled its National Biotechnology Strategy, which would add SAR130 billion (USD 35 billion), or 3%, to the country’s non-oil GDP.

According to the Saudi Press Agency this week, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a plan to raise health standards in Saudi Arabia, promote food and water security, and develop domestic businesses to offset imports.

By 2030, the plan aims to establish Saudi Arabia as the leading country in the region for genomics, vaccines, plant optimisation, and biomanufacturing, generating 11,000 employment opportunities.

Starting with giga-projects that aim to attract visitors, create jobs for Saudis, and establish the kingdom as a hub for green industries, Saudi Arabia has launched a huge economic development strategy to diversify away from oil.

The Kingdom hopes to become the dominant genomics player in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), according to SPA, which described genomics as “a disruptive field and the next frontier of medicine.”

“The Kingdom is devoted to creating cutting-edge vaccination technologies and acknowledges the significance of vaccines. The policy intends to boost self-sufficiency and provide prompt access to vaccinations for its inhabitants by localising the manufacturing of vaccines,” SPA reported further.

On the other hand, technology tracker Tracxn reports that 19 genomics start-ups, working in anything from chemical production to artificial intelligence, are already based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

After that, Saudi Arabia will continue to pursue its Vision 2030 expansion goal. According to the crown prince, Saudi Arabia will reveal Vision 2040 as early as 2027 in September.

In December 2023, the government said that to avoid supply shortages and inflation, some megaprojects would be delayed.

Following a 0.5% loss in 2023 due to OPEC+ output cuts, the World Bank stated in June 2024 that it expects Saudi GDP to increase by 4.1% in 2024 and 4.2% in 2025.

Related posts

Best to tap into Southeast Asia logistics markets amid the pandemic

GBO Correspondent

Inflation, tech stock sell-off pull down Singapore’s richest people

GBO Correspondent

Saudi’s PIF seeks fresh loans from international banks

GBO Correspondent