Middle East

Saudi Twitter users debate post-oil future

Salman announced his economic plan reform best known as 'Vision 2030'. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The vision 2030 plan has generated a mixed response.

Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 plan to wean it off dependence on oil has been greeted with a mixture of hope and scepticism by social media users.

Some internet comment is optimistic about the plan but others express doubts about its feasibility.

Some propose their own vision for a better future, accompanied by warnings that corruption could impede growth.

'New era'

The hashtag "National Transformation 2030" topped the Saudi trending list on 25 April, with almost 250,000 tweets.

Many leading public figures have welcomed the plan, urging the people to support it.

TV cleric Ahmed al-Shugairi hoped the proposal would bring "safety, justice and national unity".

Comedian Hatoon Kadi, who has 116,000 Twitter followers, tweeted: "We are optimistic. May God help our leaders."

Image copyright Twitter

Obstetrician and women's health campaigner Samia al-Amoudi, who has 97,000 followers, tweeted "Vision 2030 is the beginning of a new era."

Social media users also praised the deputy crown prince for spearheading the programme. Leading journalist Mohammed Alehaidib, who has 164,000 followers, tweeted: "Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has a profound and transparent vision; he cares about Saudi citizens."

Journalist Khaled al-Jarallah urged Saudis to "accept transformation and be flexible".

'Rosy dreams'

On the other hand, some users express scepticism about the plan, pointing to corruption in state institutions, the country's poor human rights record and the lack of representative institutions.

Journalist Turki Shalhoub, who has 9,587 followers, said "#National Transformation 2030 cannot be achieved with corrupt tools. In order to achieve this transformation, we need an elected parliament."

The Hureyaksa (Towards Freedom) account, which has 467,000 followers, spoke of "pro-forma change accompanied by hypocrisy, that will drown citizens in rosy dreams" , adding "there will be no change in favour of citizens' interests at the expense of the ruling Al-Saud family".

Image copyright Twitter

User Fahd al-Gherire said change should start with the release of "all peaceful political prisoners".

Alternative visions

Some Saudi Tweeters put forward their own visions and recommendations, often featuring better health care and public services.

Women in particular call for more civil rights. User 'RaeFaH' said that the plan should "address men and women issues equally", and "Mariam Nadia Ahmed" called for an end to the male chaperoning of adult women.

Image copyright Twitter

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