Diplomatic Coffee: Saudi Arabia and the Gulf

Stabilization in Saudi Arabia is valuable for the region, and changes should be made without affecting the country’s stability, as there are too many trouble spots in the Middle East –  said Krzysztof Płomiński, former ambassador to Iraq (1990 – 1996) and Saudi Arabia (2000 – 2004 ) during an interview in the Diplomatic Coffee series, organized by the Centre for International Relations, National Geographic Traveler Polska, THINKTANK and Weco-Travel. The conversation was held online on April 12, 2022 and was moderated by Dr. Małgorzata Bonikowska, president of the Centre for International Relations.

Under the Saudi development program – Vision 2030 – oil will be an important component of the country’s energy mix as well as budget for a quite long time to come, but nevertheless the final stage for that fuel’s use has already begun. In this transition period, the crude will replace even worse substitute fuels and is to be used in investments to end the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. Therefore, part of the revenues from the Aramco privatization is invested in green technologies. Saudi Arabia also has rich gas reserves, but they are yet to be developed. The third element of transformation is the extraction and development of iron ores, gold, copper and bauxite. Investment – a scale of US $ 1,000 billion – is to finance the restructuring of the economy. Another element of the ongoing changes is the modernization of society. Saudi Arabia’s untapped potential consists of women who, worth knowing, are better educated than men. Now, however there is transformation ongoing also in this respect. Employment is also restructured, which translates into a lower share of foreigners in the labor market.

About 80% of Saudi exports go to Asia and China, which is a promising destination for this country. The Chinese have a comprehensive program of cooperation, mutual investments, and a regional security system with the participation of Iran. Beijing wants to cooperate in the field of space research, artificial intelligence, high technologies, hydrogen production – the Saudi Aramco has great potential in this field.

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