Banu Akdenizli takes a close look at the diplomatic use of social media in the Gulf states.
“Vision 2030” shows that Saudi Arabia is conscious about the necessity to reform the country’s economy. Its cut in social spending, the plan to introduce a tax on expenses by 2018, and –more importantly- its plan to privatise the state oil company Saudi Aramco are very positive. [...] The success of Saudi Arabia’s economic reforms is crucial to the West, who needs a stable Saudi Arabia in an already chaotic Middle East.
This week’s PD News roundup looks at the connections that can be forged through cultural exchange.
The King Salman Centre for International Peace (KSCIP), to be set up in Malaysia, can help correct any negative image of Islam and its followers, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. He said the decision by Saudi Arabia to have the centre built here showed its confidence in the country’s leadership.
Minister of Culture and Information Adel Al-Toraifi opened the first Japanese full orchestra concert in Saudi Arabia on Thursday night here at King Fahad Cultural Center. The concert was organized as part of a Saudi-Japan music exchange program, under the patronage of the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information and the Embassy of Japan.
Featuring a Japanese-Indian regional initiative and a German-African economic development program.
All told, the Kingdom’s prioritization of its economic reform agenda, its interdependence with regional trade partners, and political uncertainty in the United States point to a period of heightened focus on Asia ties in the immediate future. However, Vision 2030’s dizzying ambition of overhauling subsidies and public sector reliance, coupled with channeling a massive, increasingly well-educated youth population into a fledgling knowledge economy, will necessitate that the Saudis cast a wide net to capture as much foreign investment and diversified revenue as possible.
Critics in the Maldives likely sighed relief when Saudi King Salman this week postponed his visit because of an outbreak of flu. The flu is however unlikely to halt a planned massive Saudi investment or the impact on Maldives society of the kingdom’s religion-driven public diplomacy. [...] Yet, religion often was an elephant in the room on most stops on King Salman’s trip that took him to Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, China and Japan.