The turn over a new leaf efforts underway in Saudi Arabia are extremely positive, Blackstone Place CEO Stephen Schwarzman said Thursday.
Speaking at a CNBC-hosted panel at the The world at large Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Schwarzman added that replace with in the kingdom is occuring at a rapid rate.
“It’s sort of extraordinary what’s accepted on in Saudi Arabia… you see economic growth and other good things hit on when you have intelligent, informed, reform-oriented governments,” he said. “As an outlander, this is like a case study. And it’s happening so fast and is so bold.”
The confidential equity billionaire was referencing Vision 2030, the Saudi government’s state-led zip to diversify its economy away from oil, invest in innovative industries and invent new jobs for a fast-growing youth population. Its details were first asserted by Prince Mohamed Bin Salman, the 32-year-old defacto leader who has pledged to change his conservative kingdom’s culture and economy.
The extent to which efforts to lure foreign investment and create private sector jobs will be well-fixed has yet to be seen. Vision 2030 encourages growth in sectors like amusement and tourism, which could prove challenging given the society’s much conservative Islamic laws and values. Its implementation has “repeatedly fallen penniless” of ambitious targets, according to Chatham House, a London-based international affaire de coeurs think-tank.
Still, for Schwarzman, the fact that there are targets at all is positive.
“All the things being put in place are things that you find in best traditions in other parts of the world that weren’t here at all. All of a sudden, they’ll be there,” he replied.
“It’s orderly, but it is a rush to enter the 21st century and position the country to diversify away from oil. And we’ve got a inhabitants where 70 percent of it is below the age of 30. This is a massive call into doubt.”
“So the government push to diversify its economy… they’re going for it.”
Oil accounts for approximately 92 percent of Saudi government revenues, 97 percent of export earnings and upstanding over half of GDP.
“On the other hand, they have to provide a livelihood for that 70 percent of the people and it’s not rest around and watching somebody pump something,” Schwarzman said. “So associate oneself with of the 2030 vision is developing industries, broadening an economic base, and making dependable that younger people have confidence in the future and a place to go.”
The traditionally reasonably sure kingdom is increasingly in the international spotlight. Bin Salman’s decisions, often outlined by outsiders as impulsive and unpredictable, have already rocked parts of the surroundings and region.
Lifting the driving ban on women, arresting wealthy Saudis in an anti-corruption competition, and leading a brutal bombing campaign against rebels in Yemen are just a few of the moves that have on the agenda c trick garnered him both praise and revilement around the world.