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Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 Remains a Hard Sell

Nov 11, 2019 | 11:00 GMT
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (bottom image) and King Salman (left) look out from a billboard promoting Vision 2030 in Jizan, Saudi Arabia, on Dec. 16, 2018.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (bottom image) and King Salman (left) look out from a billboard promoting Vision 2030 in Jizan, Saudi Arabia, on Dec. 16, 2018. Saudi Arabia isn't attracting as much investment for Vision 2030 as it had hoped.

(ERIC LAFFORGUE/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia's "Davos in the Desert" has come and gone, producing $20 billion in newly signed deals. And while the Future Investment Initiative -- as the event is officially known -- also reduced the threat of U.S. sanctions over Saudi Arabia's human rights record, investors are nevertheless weighing the pros and cons of pouring money into a kingdom where returns are far from guaranteed. Investors remain wary of major geopolitical risks, like a war with Iran and another human rights outrage that could reignite an international push to isolate Saudi Arabia, as well as domestic considerations, like the consistency of Saudi Arabia's policies amid lower oil prices and the personality politics of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Such factors will ultimately weigh down the Saudi investment strategy -- and make the 10-year drive toward Vision 2030 all the more difficult to achieve....

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