Full Country Name: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Area: 2.25 million square kilometers
Population: 27,136,977 (2010 est.)
Capital City: Riyadh
People : Arabs, 9 million of the total population are Foreign workers.
Languages : Arabic is the official language (English is widely spoken in business circles)
Religion : Islam – the public practice of any other religion is forbidden. About 90% of the Muslim population is Sunni and 10% Shia.
Currency : Saudi Riyals (SR)
Major Political Parties : Political parties are not permitted
Government : Monarchy
Head of State : King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
First Deputy Prime Minister : Prince Nayef Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Prime Minister/Premier : King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Foreign Minister : His Royal Highness Prince Saud al Faisal bin Abdul Aziz
Flag : The flag of Saudi Arabia bears the Muslim creed: ‘There is not god but GOD : Muhammad is the
Messenger of God.’ The official emblem is a date palm, representing vitality and growth, and two crossed swords, symbolizing justice and strength rooted if faith
Membership of international groups/organizations
Arab League, Gulf co-operation Council, Oganisation of Islamic Countries and United Nations and Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Saudi is about the size of Western Europe, covering four-fifths of the Arabian Peninsula. The Red Sea lies on the West coast and the Persian Gulf Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates on the East. Saudi Arabia has borders with Yemen and Oman in the South, and Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait in the North. There are four geographical regions: Hejaz (North-West), Asir (South-West), population is concentrated in Jeddah and Mecca in the West, Riyadh in the centre and Dammam and Al Khobar in the East. Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter is the largest sand desert in the world and is the size of Frace. Summer temperatures inland can reach 50 °C during the day, but can fall dramatically to below 30 °C at night. In winter they can be close to humidity is high. freezing in the dessert.The coastal temperatures are more moderate but
Modern Saudi Arabia was formed in 1932 when Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud united different regions of the Arabian Peninsula into one nation. On 23 Semptember 1932, Abdul Aziz was proclaimed King. All of Saudi Arabia’s rulers since 1932 have been descendants of Ibn Saud. During his rule, King Abdul Aziz laid the foundations for the modernization of his country. He began to build the country’s infrastructure, first establishing roads and basic communications systems, and later introducing modern technology and improving education, health care and agriculture. In November 1953, King Abdul Aziz died and was succeeded by his eldest son, Crown Prince saud bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud. The new King’s brother, Faisal bin abdul Aziz, was named Crown Prince. King Saud established the Council of Ministers and the Minitries of Health, Education and Commerce. The Crown Prince became King Faisal in 1964. to deepen links between Islamic nations, he traveled throughout the Arab and Islamic world. In 1975, King Faisal was assassinated by his nephew, Faisal bin Musa’id bin Abdul Aziz. He was succeeded by his brother, King Khalid bin Abdul Aziz whose reign lasted until 1982, when he died of a heart attack. His brother, Fahd, who had been made Crown Prince on King Faisal’s death, succeeded him. In 1986, King Fahd stopped using the title ‘His Majesty’ and took the title ‘Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’. Since 1996, Crown Prince Abdullah has increasingly taken on more responsibility after King Fahd suffered a stroke.
Recent Political Developments
Saudi Arabia is a monarchy with a political system rooted in Islamic Sharia law. The monarchy is the same family as the founder of modern day Saudi Arabia. King Fahd, the Head of State, is also the Prime Miniter and nominates a Council of Ministers. His half-brother, Prince Abdullah, is the Crown Prince. Other members of the King’s close family hold important roles, including Prince Sultan, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister of Defence; and Prince Naif, Minister of Interior. Between 1992 and 1993, King Fahd introduced a number of political reforms, including the establishment in 1993 of a Consultative Council, the Majlis A-Shura. It has 120 members selected by King Fahd, excluding Princes or serving Ministers. The Council’s role is to formalize existing political arrangements and debate new political legislation or social developments. In January 2003, Crown Prince Abdullah set out proposals for “self reform, and the promotion of political participation” in the Arab world. A few says later he received a petition signed by 120 people which called for reform excluding: election of members to the Shura council and regional assemblies; an independent judiciary; freedom of speech and association; the development of civil society and increased human rights; a greater public role for women; and a national forum for open discussion.
As part of his reform process, Crown Prince Abdullah announced in October 2003 the plan to hold municipal elections for half of the members of municipal councils. These will be the first elections to a government body in Saudi Arbia.
Saudi Arabia has far the largest of the Arab economies. It has the largest proven oil reserves in the world (more than 25%). Its economy is vulnerable to its fluctuations in the oil price and remains very dependent on the oil income. Per capita GDP has remained constant over the last decade with a large increase in the last two years. The rapidly increasing population highlights the need for the labor market to create more jobs of young Saudi’s. To support this, the government has implemented a policy called ‘Saudisation’ whereby an increasing percentage of jobs in private sectors companies with over 20 employees in Saudi Arabia must be filled by Saudi nationals. Oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia in 1938, and production began under the then US-controlled and now nationalized Saudi Aramco (Arabian American Oil Company). Saudi Aramco is one of the largest oil companies in the world. Saudi Arabia was one of the five founding members of the organization of Petoleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Over the last two years OPEC has played a significant role in maintaining oil market stability. Saudi Arabia has helped achieved this by increasing its oil production when necessary in order to keep the oil price within a $22-$28 price band. Crown Prince Abdullah has encourage economic reform by opening some sectors of the economy, such as the gas industry, to investment by foreign companies. Saudi Arabia has applied to join the World Trade Oraganisation and is in the process of negotiating the terms of its entrance.
Basic Economic Facts
Population growth rate among the population in 2004 and 2010 census : 3.2%
Population 2010 (people) : 27,136,977
Population density (person / sq km) 2010 : 14
Saudi population according to Census 2010 (people) : 18,707,576
Growth rate of the Saudi population (between 2004 and 2010 Census) : 2.21%
GDP growth at constant prices 2011 : 6.77%
The contribution of the private sector in GDP at constant prices 2011 : 48.8%
Per capita GDP at current prices in 2011 (SAR) : 76,229
Export growth in 2011 : 35.73%
Import growth in 2011 : 1.45%
The contribution of exports to GDP at current prices in 2011 : 61.6%
General index for the cost of living 2011 : 135
Change in the index of cost of living (inflation) year 2011 : 4.7%
Unemployment Rate (2009) : 5.4%
The proportion of the working population to population (2009 ) : 32.1%
Gross enrollment rate in primary education (2010) : 106%
Net enrollment rate in primary education (2010) : 96.6%
Rate and infant mortality (per thousand live births) 2010 : 16.9
Major Industries : Oil, Steel, Cement, Wheat
Major trading partners : USA, Japan, EU and