Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman heads Riyadh's new anti-corruption committee- AFP
CAIRO – 20 April 2018: Time magazine recently published its list of the 100 most influential persons of 2018. The list includes categories of leaders, pioneers, artists, icons and titans.
The leaders category includes big names in the world of politics, like Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman (MBS), American President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Women’s-rights activist Manal Al-Sharif, who was jailed in 2011 for driving a car in Saudi Arabia, told Time that there is now cautious optimism inside the kingdom, as MBS has started lifting restrictions on women, including by allowing them to drive, work in positions once limited to men, play sports and attend public events.
RIYADH- 17 December 2017: Saudi Arabian women will be able to drive trucks and motorcycles, officials have said three months after the kingdom announced a historic decision to end a ban on women driving. In September, King Salman issued a decree saying women will be able to drive from next June as part of an ambitious reform push in the conservative kingdom.
Sharif added that she was skeptical of the prince’s Vision 2030 plan to modernize the kingdom. However, she and most Saudis under the age of 30, who have only known elderly rulers, now see the leader as one of their peers.
MBS had previously been named defense minister and then crown prince. He was put in charge of Vision 2030, a giant reform project aimed at modernizing the Saudi economy and society.
MBS, 32 years old, has a clear vision about the future of Saudi Arabia after quitting the kingdom’s "addiction" to oil, he says.
He started with the gradual liberation of the Saudi society, the anti-corruption campaign that ended with the arrests of prominent members of the royal family and finding other sources of income instead of oil.
But to promote this vision in the world, MBS has had to be more open to the media, unlike his royal ancestors, who were rarely interviewed by the western media; he has conducted several interviews with major international broadcasters.
CAIRO - 20 March 2018: No doubt, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman, or as he likes to be called MBS, has a clear vision about the future of Saudi Arabia after quitting "addiction" to oil, as he says.
Additional Reprting Nesma Abdel Azim