Prince Alwaleed In Favour Of Saudi Women Driving

The move will “save more than 500,000 jobs”, says the Kingdom Holding chairman.



Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has openly expressed support of allowing women to drive in the Kingdom.

The move will hugely benefit Saudi Arabia, he tweeted on Sunday.

“The question of allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia will save more than 500,000 jobs in addition to the social and economic benefits,” wrote the Kingdom Holding chairman.

Saudi Arabia is currently in the process of deporting thousands of foreign workers who are not officially working for their sponsors.

Late last month, King Abdullah announced a three-month amnesty to give expatriates a chance to sort out their papers.

But the move is expected to force companies to enforce strict new quotas on employing more Saudis.

The Kingdom is struggling to reduce rising youth unemployment in the country by getting more Saudis into private sector jobs.

In an exclusive interview with Gulf Business earlier this year, Prince Alwaleed warned that the issue had to be resolved soon.

“There’s no doubt that the issue of unemployment in Saudi Arabia is definitely a time bomb,” he said.

“That’s because you have around eight million officially registered expatriates and you have a few million who are in the country illegally. So altogether, around 10 to 11 million expatriates are employed in the Kingdom, a humungous number, especially if you have two million Saudis who are unemployed.

“This does not make sense and has to be stopped.

“Right now, there’s a major disequilibrium in the system whereby getting expatriates from outside is still relatively easy. This is very unfortunate and dangerous. We should have a system that would make it more difficult to hire people from outside.

“Having said that, the Saudis are also not yet trained to be in such jobs. So we need more vocational training for those Saudis to be able to replace those expatriates in a well-thought-out plan in the coming years,” he added.