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King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ahead of the opening of a Gulf Cooperation Council summit, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 14, 2012 (AP photo by Hassan Ammar).

Is Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 Reform Plan Faltering—or Succeeding?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

One of the most dramatic socio-economic experiments in the world is unfolding in Saudi Arabia, where exactly one year ago, a young prince launched an ambitious plan to transform his conservative, oil-rich kingdom. The reform program, named Vision 2030, seeks to wean the country from its near-total reliance on oil revenue and government largesse, turning it into one that is more balanced, more modern and more sustainable by the year 2030.

But last week, near the anniversary of the modernization plan’s unveiling last April, the kingdom announced it was rolling back some of its key austerity measures. The reversal raises a pivotal question: Was it a sign that the plan is faltering, or a sign that it is succeeding? ...

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