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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman US Visit

The Saudi Crown Prince's US Visit Is a Bigger Deal Than You Think

In case you missed it, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is on a US tour and it's a really big deal.

Despite Saudi Arabia's position as the most conservative country in the Arab world, KSA and the States actually have a great relationship.

It started in 1930, a year before the commercial flow of oil and hit many milestones after that. In 1974, they established the joint Saudi-US economic commission. In 2010, they created a Saudi-American business opportunities forum, and in 2017 they signed trade agreements worth $280 billion. In other words, they're tight.

So why the fanfare around this trip?

Let's take it step by step. The first thing is that Saudi is running out of cash. Sounds ludicrous, but with oil prices on a downward slump, in 2015 the IMF warned Saudi that their financial assets were dwindling. With 90 percent of central government revenues coming from oil revenues, and oil exports being 70 percent of the country's non-oil GDP, low oil prices are a huge problem for this rich nation. And if the oil runs out, there is no Saudi as we know it.

The Saudi Crown Prince is intent on shifting the Saudi economy from an oil-reliant one to that which relies on private sector investments. He has launched a plan called Vision 2030. This plan includes social reforms such as the establishment of women's rights and public entertainment like concerts and cinemas that can be attended by both sexes, among many other things to turn Saudi into an attractive investment hub. They're working hard to change the status-quo and the Crown Prince is in America to spread the word, and in turn, garner investments for their private sector.

Currently in Boston, the Prince oversaw the signing of a host of agreements with US Universities. He also visited MIT labs and IBM Watson Health, which aims to empower influencers in the healthcare field. So, science and healthcare are also big on his agenda.

We're sure there'll be plenty more deals brokered and signed on this trip as the Prince tries to find more ways for Saudi and the US to cooperate.

If it means a reformed Saudi, where women and youth get a chance to really reach their full potential, we're all for it.

Image Source: Twitter user SaudiEmbassyUSA
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