An ambitious country, a thriving economy, and a vibrant society make up the three fundamental pillars of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. The historic vision was developed by the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, which is overseen by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. For the Kingdom’s long-term economic success, goals and reform plans are included. These include reducing subsidies, creating a sovereign wealth fund, allowing private investment in the Saudi Aramco net worth through a partial IPO, and reforming a number of industries, including tourism and the military. The vision is founded on three key pillars: a thriving economy, a vibrant society, and an ambitious nation.
In order to build a prosperous society, Saudi Arabia will prioritize its people and the Islamic faith. This will be done by following through on a number of commitments, including increasing the number of Umrah pilgrims from 8 million to 30 million annually, constructing the largest Islamic museum in the world, doubling the number of Saudi heritage sites registered with UNESCO, fostering the expansion of cultural and entertainment opportunities within the Kingdom, encouraging healthy lifestyles so that the percentage of citizens who exercise once a week rises from 13 to 40%, and developing the Kingdom’s cultural and entertainment sector.
To create a thriving economy, the Kingdom will diversify its economy and offer its citizens fulfilling employment opportunities. This will be achieved by a commitment to education, entrepreneurship, and innovation, which will involve diversifying the economy of the nation through ongoing state-owned asset privatization, including the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund that will be funded through the partial initial public offering of Saudi Aramco jobs; opening up underdeveloped sectors like manufacturing, renewable energy, and tourism; and modernizing the curriculum and standards. By 2030, at least five Saudi institutions will be among the top 200 globally. The nation will also emphasize financial support for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). By 2030, SMEs will account for 35% of GDP, up from 20% currently.
In order to be an ambitious country, Saudi Arabia will focus on responsibility, transparency, and effectiveness in its governance plan. Successfulness that is long-lasting can only be attained with solid foundations. Through the King Salman Program for Human Capital Development, the Kingdom will train more than 500,000 public servants in best practices, establish zero tolerance for all forms of corruption, improve online services and governance standards to increase transparency, and strengthen the nonprofit sector by enhancing its effectiveness and impact. The Vision2030 plan is the first stage in accomplishing Saudi Arabia’s economic objectives and enhancing the quality of life for its citizens.
Saudi Arabia is primarily interested in hydrogen to safeguard its economy. The world’s top crude oil exporter may employ hydrogen to accomplish a number of key objectives specified in the Saudi Vision 2030, such as diversifying its exports, utilizing the supply chains of present industries to increase local content, and developing new industrial sectors. In fact, Saudi Arabia wants to control the world’s hydrogen supply. By manufacturing hydrogen, Saudi Arabia might be able to diminish its reliance on domestic oil as its primary source of income from foreign markets. This would be extremely helpful to the monarchy in the carbon-constrained world, which is defined by a wave of net-zero targets from governments and industries globally.
Additionally, the kingdom’s expertise in the production of chemicals and hydrogen on an industrial scale, as well as in the capture and storage of CO2, speaks to its current know-how and supply chain capabilities. By using hydrocarbon resources with carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) of emissions to produce and export “blue hydrogen,” Saudi Arabia hopes to develop the viable production and export of hydrogen.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia, a country in the sun belt with huge flat expanses ideal for solar panels, can start a new industry with “green hydrogen” produced from renewable energy sources. The monarchy intends to produce around 27 GW by 2023 and about 58 GW by 2030, primarily from solar sources. However, the kingdom’s current capacity for renewable energy is still quite small. Utility-scale photovoltaic capacity was 330 megawatts in the first half of 2020. The Saudi government’s desire to produce hydrogen using renewable energy sources begs the question of when this might truly happen.
The development of a clean hydrogen sector, particularly the use of blue hydrogen, would also be consistent with a circular carbon economy, which is a framework for controlling and lowering emissions through carbon reduction, reuse, recycling, and removal. Domestic transportation fueled by clean hydrogen would help Saudi Arabia economy produce fewer carbon emissions. In order to portray itself as a facilitator of the global energy transition, the monarchy might also market its clean hydrogen supply to countries that import hydrocarbons and are looking to purchase lower-carbon energy sources. We don’t yet know what the development of clean hydrogen would mean for the kingdom’s use of natural gas in the interim.