Saudi Arabia’s great makeover can’t afford to fail

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, has emerged as the unrivaled leader of the kingdom, now better placed to steer it through a transition no nation in history has managed to pull off: converting a major economy reliant on petrodollars into one that can survive in a post-oil 21st century.

“This is a huge challenge for the country, and it has great implications for the world,” Goldman Sachs Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein said at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York in September. While there should be urgency, there’s also a case for caution so the change needed for “stability in the long run doesn’t produce instability in the short run,” he said.

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“All of the regional problems—Qatar, Yemen, Syria, Iraq—all are a distraction,” Turki Al Rasheed, a Saudi businessman, said at his sprawling home in an upscale Riyadh neighborhood as he leafed through notes on the kingdom’s continued dependency on oil. Failing to achieve sustainable development is “the real threat,” he said.

Source Credit: Bloomberg
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