Saudis on a Sword Edge


Thursday, November 9, 15:00 UK / 10:00 EST

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has acted decisively and dramatically to consolidate his hold on power.

His palace purge of many of the kingdom's political and business leaders in the name of anti-corruption has left Saudis shocked -- and international businesses and investors unnerved about what this means for Vision 2030, the young Crown Prince's ambitious but challenging blueprint for diversifying the oil-dependent economy over which he will soon rule -- possibly for the next half-century.

Key pillars of Vision 2030 including privatisation, urban development and financial sector reforms may now be at risk of being watered down or delayed, even if some franchise projects will be harder to divert -- notably, the part-privatisation of state oil firm Aramco, set for 2018.

  • Does Mohammed bin Salman know 'exactly what he is doing', as US President Donald Trump suggests?
  • Will his anti-corruption campaign remove the obstacles to modernising the economy in line with Vision 2030 and lead to the increased transparency in business dealings that will be so essential for an economic and social transformation?
  • How are the risks and opportunities for foreign businesses and investors changing if the emergence of an independent private sector that can compete across the spectrum of industries in which the state is the dominant player is made more unlikely?
  • Will Mohammed bin Salman's doubling down on his ill-starred Yemen adventure, provocation of a political crisis in Lebanon and surprisingly intractable dispute with Qatar exacerbate the feud with Iran and lead to potentially greater destabilisation of the region?
  • When, if ever, will conservatives forces in the kingdom launch their counter-attack? And where will that leave foreign business?

Share your thoughts and put your questions on all of these and anything else that concerns or excites you about the future of Saudi Arabia to three of Oxford Analytica's expert senior advisors in our special client conference call on Thursday, November 9th at 15:00 UK / 10:00 EDT.