Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud ? was born 31 August 1985 he is known as the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, also serving as First Deputy Prime Minister, President of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs and Minister of Defense—the world’s youngest office holder at the time. He has been described as the power behind the throne of his father, King Salman, He was appointed Crown Prince in June 2017 following his father’s decision to remove Muhammad bin Nayef from all positions, making Mohammed bin Salman heir apparent to the throne.
He has led several successful reforms, which include :
Prince Mohammed bin Salman took the leadership in the restructuring of Saudi Arabia’s economy, which he officially announced in April 2016 when he introduced Vision 2030, the country’s strategic orientation for the next 15 years. Vision 2030 plans to reform Saudi’s economy towards a more diversified and privatized structure. It details goals and measures in various fields, from developing non-oil revenues and privatization of the economy to e-government and sustainable development.
Mohammed bin Salman established himself as the chairman of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Foundation, otherwise known as HYPERLINK “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MiSK” o “MiSK” MiSK, which puts in place activities empowering and enabling the younger generation, in line with ‘Vision 2030’ goals of a more developed nation. The foundation was a partner of the 9th UNESCO Youth Forum for Change in 2015.
The foundation focuses on the country’s youth and provides different means of fostering talent, creative potential, and innovation in a healthy environment that offers opportunities in arts and sciences. The foundation pursues these goals by establishing programs and partnering with local and global organizations. It intends to develop intellectual capability in youth, as well as unlock the potential of all Saudi people. Saudi journalists traveling with Prince Mohammed on foreign delegations have been paid up to $100,000 in cash .
Mohammed bin Salman significantly restricted the powers of the religious police. He established an entertainment authority that started hosting comedy shows, professional wrestling events, and monster truck rallies. In an interview with al Arabiya he shared his idea for “Green cards” for non-Saudi foreigners.
In February 2017, Saudi Arabia appointed its first woman to head the Saudi Stock Exchange.
In February 2018, it became legally possible for Saudi women to open their own business without a male’s permission.
According to the Saudi Information Ministry, as of March 2018, mothers in Saudi Arabia became authorized to retain immediate custody of their children after divorce without having to file any lawsuits.
Further cultural developments followed in December 2017 with Saudi Arabia’s first public concert by a female singer, and in January 2018 a sports stadium in Jeddah became the first in the Kingdom to admit women. In April 2018 the first public cinema opened in Saudi Arabia after a ban of 35 years, with plans to have more than 2,000 screens running by 2030.
The first measures undertaken in April 2016 included new taxes and cuts in subsidies, a diversification plan, the creation of a $2 trillion Saudi sovereign wealth fund, and a series of strategic economic reforms called the National Transformation Program. Bin Salman’s plans to raise capital for the sovereign wealth fund included selling off shares of Saudi Aramco, the state-owned petroleum and natural gas company, with the capital to be re-invested in other sectors such as to implement the diversification plans. In October 2017, the plan for Aramco’s IPO listing was criticized by The Economist, which called it “a mess”.Mohammed bin Salman slashed the state budget, freezing government contracts and reducing the pay of civil employees as part of drastic austerity measures.
In September 2017, bin Salman implemented the women to drive movement’s multi-decade demand to lift the ban on female drivers. He legislated against some elements of Saudi Arabia’s HYPERLINK “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wali_(Islamic_legal_guardian)” o “Wali (Islamic legal guardian)” Wali system, also a topic of a many decade long campaign by women’s rights activists.
In October 2017, he said that the ultra-conservative Saudi state had been “not normal” for the past 30 years, blaming rigid doctrines that had governed society in a reaction to the Iranian Revolution, which successive leaders “didn’t know how to deal with”. According to him, he aimed to have Saudi Arabia start “returning to what we were before a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world”. He was telling the country’s clerics that the deal the royal family struck with them after the 1979 siege of the Grand Mosque in Mecca was to be renegotiated. Building an industrial culture was not compatible with HYPERLINK “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wahhabism” o “Wahhabism” Wahhabism. The Wahhabis were committed to fixed social and gender relationships. These were consistent with an economy built on oil sales, but industrialization requires a dynamic culture with social relations constantly shifting.
According to Politico, as of 2017, Mohammed bin Salman wished to pre-empt a repetition of the downfall of the earlier Saudi states due to familial infighting, internal malaise, external frailty and failure to modernize. Mindful of this history, instead of waiting for today’s Saudi state to weaken and fall, MBS’s aim was to try to save the country before it collapsed.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali claimed that if bin Salman “succeeds in his modernization efforts, Saudis will benefit from new opportunities and freedoms, and the world will benefit from curtailing the Wahhabi radicalization agenda. A decade from now, the kingdom could look more like the United Arab Emirates, its prosperous and relatively forward-looking neighbor.