Shifting Toward Knowledge-Based Economical Advancements | مركز سمت للدراسات

Shifting Toward Knowledge-Based Economical Advancements

Date & time : Friday, 10 March 2023

Dr. Hadeel Alsharif


Since the dawn of crude extraction technology, Saudi Arabia has been the beneficiary of its abundance of natural resources (oil in particular), bringing the nation a robust economy, worldwide recognition, and all the benefits that reside therein. However, great strides have been taken since the launch of Vision 2030 kicked off back in 2016 to move away from the dependence on oil as an economic mainstay, and enter an era of a more economically diverse strategy, shifting toward knowledge-based advancements. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has since established grants and has made sizeable investments in education efforts, targeting the sectors that require advanced knowledge or information-based education. 

The expansion of intellectual capital amongst the KSA citizenry will ensure that the manpower or “know-how” will be secured as developing sectors expand technologically, or to have informationally armed employees on the ready as new technology unfolds throughout the world. 

Vision 2030 is well on its way to touching upon five primary sectors which are infrastructure, recreation, education, health, and tourism; an ambitious task by the standard of any nation- yet demonstrably not an impossible one. Efforts have been made on both the micro and macro levels working toward the desired end of that vision, and spanning across all five sectors is the attention given to knowledge-based advancements. Technology and digitalization don’t only make life easier for the citizens of Saudi Arabia in a host of ways, but it also attracts other nations who are looking to invest in budding Saudi tech-based businesses. Digital transformation has been a major focus of Vision 2030, being linked with over 70% of the overall goals woven into the strategy.

In terms of educating Saudi-born citizens, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Scholarship Program is among the most notable programs of its type, working in conjunction with other programs such as the Cultural Scholarship Program, alongside other training initiatives. These programs are anticipated to equip hundreds of thousands of Saudis with the technical chops necessary to improve, maintain, and advance the Kingdom’s global competitiveness amongst the world’s most advanced industries.

With all these steps taken toward advancement come their share of problems, difficulties, and challenges. The shift from an oil-dependent economy isn’t necessarily a welcomed change for those who might not share in this vision, though few would argue that nothing lasts forever- particularly when it comes to a reliance on natural resources. The whole idea revolves around (yet isn’t limited to) sustainable economic development, and at the rate that knowledge-based industry has progressed, those who are stuck at idle will in the end be left behind. Though the world still relies heavily on oil-based products and Saudi Arabia is locked in the middle of its coming and going, every year steps are being taken globally to reduce its importance in day-to-day life. 

New technology comes to the surface in all sectors to either curb or eliminate the need to use fossil fuels year by year, and it may not be long until the next best thing rises to prominence. The Kingdom is wise to invest in economic diversification to prepare for a strong and prosperous future for the entirety of the nation without having to rely on an oil-based economy, and bolster the shift toward a healthy knowledge-based, high-tech strategy. 


Saudi writer*


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