2030 and beyond
“We are determined to build a thriving country in which all citizens can fulfil their dreams, hopes and ambitions. Therefore, we will not rest until our nation is a leader in providing opportunities for all through education and training, and high-quality services in employment, health, housing, and entertainment” His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affair
Since Vision 2030 was unveiled around 6 years ago, the Kingdom has achieved many noteworthy milestones to support its economic diversification objectives and build a flourishing future for the people of Saudi Arabia.
And to date, the Vision Realization Programs specifically have achieved remarkable successes across the vision's different pillars including a vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation.
In the past few years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of women participating in the workforce, non-oil revenues have seen a rapid growth, 6 giga projects are being built, more government applications were developed to support the growth of online usage in lines with the spread of COVID-19, and many more, and there is no doubt that the Kingdom will flourish even further in the next 8 years.
As a result, the Kingdom was ranked 1st in the Arab world in the Happiness Index issued by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network for 2021 and ranked 21st globally, which also measured the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on happiness and quality of life global, indicating that the country is on the right path to becoming a world destination across several sectors.The vision is being delivered by empowering citizens, investing in the future and creating a diverse, prosperous and sustainable economy to enrich the lives of citizens. What do the next 8 years hold for the Kingdom? What is there to expect beyond Vision 2030?
The future is nationalisation
Although the Kingdom has been focusing on Saudisation since 1985, major regulatory and economic reforms have accelerated in recent years under the Vision 2030 agenda, especially with the launch of the Human Capability Development Program which aims to increase the participation of young Saudis in the economy, promoting non-oil sectors, and improving overall quality of life.
As a result, Saudi is not only encouraging the recruitment of nationals within the private sector but is also encouraging investment in their training to ensure their retention by employers as well as their contribution to a vibrant and diverse economy.
Just last year, the number of new Saudi employees entering the private sector reached 121,000 in the first quarter, according to a report issued by the Human Resources Development Fund. Another report by the National Labor Observatory published in April 2021 indicated that Saudisation in the private sector rose to 22.75% in the first quarter, compared to 20.37% during the same period in 2020.
In the next few years, we will see further great increase in the number of Saudis within the private sector, as well as growth in new skills, and the key to keeping the numbers high is to provide nationals with the required training to shape these skills and expose them to international experience that can support Saudi’s 2030 Vision and beyond. Soon enough, the private sector will be led by Saudi leaders with futuristic visions and locally grown talents.
Knowledge transfer is also another great aspect that the Saudi government focuses on as it does not only allow nationals to learn and grasp the knowledge of international expertise, but it also increases the probability of delivering on time while cutting cost by up to 50%, increases quality of work, drives adoption of best practices, increases profit margins, and optimizes resources with the right person for the right job.
The future looks very promising for Saudi and the region, and this is only the beginning.
The future of tourism
As the Kingdom prepares to achieve its 2030 Vision, it’s heavily focusing on promoting domestic and international tourism, allowing its economy to grow beyond oil, and introducing the world to the rich history and culture of one of the region’s biggest countries.
With great focus comes great investment, and the Kingdom has dedicated $810 billion to invest in culture, leisure and entertainment projects over the next decade. This strategy has already significantly enhanced the country's attractiveness as a tourist destination and it’s already making progress toward its goal to have 100 million visitors to the country by 2030.
100 million is not a small number, hence, the responsibility of achieving it fall on both the public and private sector to collaborate in order to deliver. From ensuring that the infrastructure, including airports, are properly developed and equipped with the latest technologies, to preparing the on-ground staff and providing them with the right training, the journey to a great customer experience is not easy and requires a lot of attention to details.
First impressions matter, especially with a lot of regional competition. Hence why the Saudi government, in collaboration with the private sector, should be able to provide a competitive experience from the moment tourists step foot in to the country.
As the Kingdom becomes a world destination for tourism, more and more private companies will choose it as their gateway, not just for the Middle East, but also as connection between the east and the west, eventually enhancing the economy and introducing higher standards for living.
The Future of Master Development
With Saudi’s giga projects we learned that the country has great potential in master development of great cities that will provide great living. But when thinking of such huge projects, we have to think of everything that is related to it, from understanding who your target audience is, all the way to managing the facilities and delivering great residence and customer experience, and this is how the Saudi government has been developing its projects.
When it comes to developing cities, there are always customer related factors to consider, from understanding your target customers to uncovering their needs and priorities, allowing them to share feedback and making sure you’re delivering what actually works for them.
Developers should also understand the decision process of their customers in choosing a place to live or work. From the must haves to things one can compromise and use these insights to support the planning and shaping of spaces and facilities.
Developers need to spend time getting to know the target audiences and what they look for when moving to a new community. In a country that is rapidly changing and developing like Saudi Arabia, and with increasing competition for people’s attention, in-depth understanding of target audiences and actively designing with and for them will be key to attracting them to live, work and play. ‘Build it and they will come’ is a risky strategy. Proactively meeting customers’ needs, wants and priorities has a much better chance of success.
Once you understand your target audience and you deliver what is best for them, then it’s the right time to collect data from them that will allow you to continue with the development of the services, and eventually enhance their overall experience.
For example, Neom, the country’s ambitious project, is expected to be the size of Belgium when completed and is set to be the world’s first cognitive city. According to reports about the project, an operating system known as NEOS will aim to seek consent to use data from 90% of the project’s residents, which will help enhance their overall experience. It’s a proactive system that can take action, and support when needed, while collecting data. This visionary project is one of many that the country will complete in the coming years, thereby building smart and cognitive cities. From traffic management systems to 15-minute cities and smart transport initiatives – these all need extremely targeted use of data to come to life.
In the near future, we will see technology-led cities where data collection happens around the clock, enabling developers to offer solutions and enhancement immediately, and as a result maintaining the high quality of life, and maintaining the facilities for many years to come.
While it’s been around 6 years since the Kingdom announced its 2030 Vision, we can already see that a lot has been achieved to date, and in no time, the country will become a world leader across many sectors and opening the door for more international businesses and tourists to choose the country as their next destination. The future looks very promising for Saudi and the region, and this is only the beginning.