Saudi princess calls for more expat integration

Published:  30 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: Australia
As the kingdom of Saudi Arabia opens up to increasing foreign investment, a Saudi princess is calling for more integration between expatriates and Saudi nationals.

According to Princess Reema bint Bandar al Saud, Western businesses and their employees should engage more with Saudis, as changes in the kingdom’s societal norms are critical to its economic success. She pointed out that most expat employees’ lives are solely concentrated on their workplaces and residential compounds, adding that generating an understanding of opportunities in the kingdom can only be achieved by greater community engagement on both sides.

The vast majority of expat professionals working in Saudi Arabia live in gated, guarded compounds, many of which don’t allow entry to Saudi nationals. The compounds provide all expatriate needs including grocery stores, schools, huge swimming pools, gyms, restaurants, bars and other Western necessities. It’s easy to simply carry on living a Western life, protected by armed guards and getting no chance of experiencing Saudi culture and everyday life.

The princess is convinced cultural exchange is the key to enhanced prosperity as a nation as well as increasing the understanding of life both in the region and in the West. Being permanently separated from anything which isn’t Saudi, she believes, is toxic to the kingdom’s cohesion as an international hub for business as well as a centre for skilled expat professionals. Whilst she’s pleased about the speed of cultural change in the sports sector, she’d like to see the same developments in the country’s sectors across the board. Her views seem to coincide with those of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, at present in New York meeting business leaders.
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