Will a skills shortage cloud Saudi Vision 2030?
As international financiers rush into Saudi Arabia, they are asking if the Kingdom can deliver on its grand promises.
Most bankers agree the changes brought in by Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman will have profound consequences on all areas of their Middle East business, not just their DCM departments
The Ritz Carlton in Riyadh is typically populated with visiting dignitaries and businesspeople enjoying the hotel’s many luxuries. But between November and February, the premises were used for an altogether different clientele: more than 200 of the Kingdom’s wealthiest, many royals among them, who had suddenly been arrested on corruption charges.
By the time Euromoney visits the hotel in early May, the prisoners have been released, many after reportedly signing admissions of guilt and consenting to relinquish part of their fortune to the state. The hotel, returning to its original function, is now trying to pass as normal the extraordinary events that took place within its walls.
When asked how things were when the hotel was closed, a member of staff says: “We’ve never been closed.”
He adds, with a grin: “We just extended our services to the government.”
The transformation of the Ritz Carlton into a gilded prison signalled a darker, more confrontational side to the reform programme, dubbed Vision 2030, that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is championing in a bid to liberalize the country’s economy and culture – as well as to assert his authority.