Saudi Arabia agrees on plan to cut reliance on oil

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Saudi Arabia’s cabinet has agreed on a broad-based economic reform plan, known as Vision 2030, revealing how the oil-reliant state plans to diversify its economy over the next 14 years. Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the deputy crown prince, said on Monday that the country was building up the its Public Investment Fund to become a major player in global markets.

He said Saudi Arabia was restructuring its housing ministry to increase the supply of affordable housing, and creating a “green card” system within five years to give expatriates long-term residence.  Salman al-Ansari, founder and president of the Washington DC-based Saudi American Public Relations Affairs Committee (SAPRAC), told Al Jazeera the green card system gives more rights to expatriates to invest in the country.

“Almost 10 million foreigners send their money back to their country, they can’t invest in this country, so by this green card idea, we are giving more rights to expats for investment or buy houses,” he said.  “That will create a big move for the Saudi economy. It is a visionary kind of move to not only help the Saudi economy and Saudi citizens but also help the foreigners in the country.” Saudi Arabia will also sell shares in state oil giant Aramco and set up the world’s largest wealth fund in line with the plan, Mohamed bin Salman said separately in an interview to the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news channel.

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