Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia’s historic visit of Pakistan will mark a milestone in the relations of the two countries.
MBS’s Visit to Pakistan – Highlights
- The Crown Prince is expected to arrive in Pakistan on Sunday (Feb 17) afternoon on a day’s visit.
- The Crown Prince’s delegation comprises more than 40 chief executives, including the CEO of Aramco, as well as about 1,100 businessmen and officials.
- The Crown Prince will be the first state guest to stay at the Pakistani Prime Minister’s official residence.
- Imran Khan, the prime minister, will receive the Crown Prince at the airport.
- The Crown Prince will also be the guest of honor at the International Investment Conference.
How will the visit benefit Pakistan
Pakistan will sign investment deals with Saudi Arabia that will include the development of an oil refinery in Gwadar. Saudi Arabia had already agreed on a $6 billion package for Pakistan.
The alternative-energy sector will see an investment of about $2 billion, with wind and solar power plants to be built. According to sources, it is going to be the largest commercial investment by Saudi companies in Pakistan.
An agreement for a $3 billion oil facility will also be signed during his visit.
Mohammed bin Salman – Introduction
Mohammed bin Salman, also referred to as MBS, was born on August 31, 1985. The son of King Salman is the heir to the throne. He holds different positions, including those of President of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs; Minister of Defense; and Deputy Prime Minister. He is also the youngest defense minister in the world. He was named Crown Prince in 2017 and ranked at eighth spot in Forbes’ 2018 ranking of The World’s Most Powerful People.
Mohammed bin Salman has a law degree from King Saud University. Throughout his tenure as a university student, he was enrolled in various training programs.
After graduation, Mohammed bin Salman developed several firms before he got involved in governmental work. He held key posts such as the Member of the Board of Trustees for Albir Society for Development, Special Adviser to the Chairman of the Board for King Abdulaziz Foundation, and Secretary-General of the Riyadh Competitive Council.
Mohammed bin Salman also made a contribution to social welfare. He developed the MiSK Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to cultivating and encouraging learning and leadership among Saudi youth. In addition, it also develops startups in Pakistan through different business-incubation schemes.
His philanthropy was acknowledged on the global level. Forbes Middle East awarded him the “Personality of the Year” award in 2013, in recognition of his support for and development of Saudi youth.
Economic Efforts in Saudi Arabia
In April 2016, Crown Prince introduced Vision 2030, which is aimed at establishing Saudi Arabia as the heart of the Arab region and the Islamic world. By 2030, the initiative aims to develop an e-government system and reduce the country’s reliance on oil.
He also announced the $500-billion plan to create the industrial and business zone extending across the borders into Egypt and Jordan. The 26,500 square-kilometer zone, known as NEOM, will focus on industries such as energy and water; biotechnology; food; advanced manufacturing; and entertainment. The entire project will be powered by wind and solar energy.
The Crown Prince focused on partnerships with major countries with strong economies. His major investments are aimed at building a strong and sustainable Saudi economy.
MBS Revealed a Moderate Image of Islam
Mohammed bin Salman is also widely acknowledged for his moderate religious views and policies. He lifted the ban on women drivers and opened cinemas for the public, first such move in more than 30 years.
Mohammed bin Salman provided many more entertainment options in Saudi Arabia for both youngsters and families. An entertainment authority was set up in May 2016.
While the cabinet passed a regulation to curtail the authority of the religious police.
Efforts on Global Economy
Mohammed bin Salman has been investing $230 billion a year outside of Saudi Arabia. It is expected that the figure will reach $300-400 billion by 2030. However, he is aiming to spend half of those funds in Saudi Arabia through privatization and the remaining in various sectors throughout the world, increasing investment through the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and the planned launch of Aramco’s initial public offering. His main aim is to make PIF the biggest investment fund of the globe with a $2-trillion investment.
A Man with Leadership Skills
Saudi Arabia has the largest GDP in the Middle East, thanks to Mohammed bin Salman’s initiatives. The majority of countries in the region are allies of Saudi Arabia, which controls any rise in oil prices. Saudi Arabia also supports the legitimate government in Yemen in its fight against the Houthi revolt.
Mohammed bin Salman successfully led the 2017-19 anti-corruption drive in Saudi Arabia that resulted in the recovery of more than $106 billion.