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Below you will find a short snippet from each of the key topic areas for the forecast of the year ahead.
An overview: Domestic politics and policy
In 2018 Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MbS) will set a challenging agenda for reform internally and pursue an assertive foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East, and do so with energy and speed.
An overview: Foreign Affairs
Saudi actions in the region to counter the influence of Iran and its allies in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen will continue in 2018. However, Saudi Arabia will need to up its game: in 2017, Iran considerably improved its position in the region despite the greater assertiveness by Riyadh.
Saudi foreign policy will continue to be determined at the top – by MbS in 2018. However, the system has yet to adapt to greater activism having been used to the deployment of unobtrusive soft power rather than hard power.
An overview: Economy
The issue of job creation and more specifically, the job-market readiness of young Saudis will not be resolved rapidly. The 2018-2020 transitional period will need to foster a fresh approach toward development of human capital among Saudi nationals, especially better targeted upskilling schemes for young Saudi men, with the aim of retaining their interest in, and engagement with, the evolving
labour market. There is, for example, a new emphasis on vocational courses and mid-level (non-degree) qualifications. This move away from an emphasis on degree qualifications and degree-awarding courses aims to better address the midlevel skill needs of the labour market and job-creating industrial sectors and companies, such as at ‘technician’ level.