|01 December, 2019

King Salman: Five years of remarkable achievements

The restructuring of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) was one of the most notable achievements in the country’s finances

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrives to address the Shura Council in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia November 20, 2019. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrives to address the Shura Council in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia November 20, 2019. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of King Salman’s ascension to the throne.

The Kingdom has made remarkable and unprecedented political, social, economic and developmental achievements since King Salman started his rule on Jan. 23, 2015.

These achievements, which are mainly the pillars of the Vision 2030 reform program, have demonstrated that the Saudi leadership is committed to its pledge to build a state for the future and to cement its position in the G20.

Under his leadership, King Salman — supported by his crown prince and a young management team — has overseen noticeable and speedy evolution in key sectors including finance, tourism, entertainment, housing and energy, among others.

The restructuring of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) was one of the most notable achievements in the country’s finances.

By changing its mandate from a local investment vehicle focusing on conservative instruments within the money market asset class, the PIF has gone through major transformation to become a significant sovereign wealth fund powerhouse targeting quality, long-term, trophy and strategic investments worldwide.

As for tourism, Saudi Arabia inaugurated several major projects, such as the King Salman Park, Sports Boulevard, Green Riyadh, Riyadh Art and Diriyah Gate Project (DGP).

With the e-visa initiative, tourism will witness a speedy growth coupled with cross-country festivals throughout the year in cooperation with newly created government agencies for activities in sports, entertainment and culture.

The unique DGP was unearthed to be a cultural and lifestyle tourism destination, especially after it gained UNESCO’s certification as World Heritage Site. Starting from next year, the Kingdom is expected to witness the highest growth rate in tourism until 2030.

Obviously, the most remarkable and impactful achievement during King Salman’s rule was the gradual preparation for Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering. It started in 2016 when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced that the Kingdom will sell less than 5 percent of Aramco’s shares by offering it to the public. As of last Thursday, the retail tranche has been oversubscribed by 1.7 times with received bids for its shares totaling $44.3 billion. The institutional tranche will be concluded on Dec. 4.

Since the start of his rule, King Salman has applied a leadership style known in our corporate textbooks as “management by objectives.” His era was guided by a roadmap called Vision 2030, which specified these objectives with target dates for their achievements. Not only has his era paved the way for economic prosperity benefiting national and international investors, but it will also give the future generations national and international entrepreneurs.

• Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the Chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.

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