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Discovering Saudi Arabia

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Moving to Saudi Arabia can be a really enriching experience. Here is an overview of the country's economic, social and political situations.

Saudi Arabia is deemed to be an absolute monarchy which has been founded in 1744 by Saoud bin Mohammed al-Mouqrin. The country has been one of the Middle-East region's major strategic economic and political players, being a direct rival to Iran. Stretching over some 2,149,690 km2, covering 80% of the Arabian Peninsula, it is deemed to be the region's biggest and most prosperous country. Riyadh is Saudi Arabia's capital city while its other major cities are Jeddah, Mecca and Medina.

Population

To date, Saudi Arabia's population amounts to some 29,994,272 inhabitants, among whom 75% are less than 30 years old. Moreover, its population includes some 9.4 million of expatriates having settled there. As regards the country's official language, it is Arabic, but English is spoken by most of the population, especially in the professional field. Saudi Arabia's currency is the Saudi Arabian Riyal (SAR).

Saudi Arabia's society mainly relied on the Koran. In fact, this Muslim sacred book governs not only the population's everyday life but also other major issues such as family rights and criminal law (divorce, inheritance, etc.). Accordingly, although they still have some freedom, foreigners have to comply with existing rules and regulations in public places.

Petroleum

Petroleum, which is also known as Black Gold is undeniably one of Saudi Arabia's key aspects. In fact, Saudi Arabia is deemed to be the world's second most important petroleum producer after Venezuela with around 23% of oil reserves.

It is believed that petroleum has generated Saudi Arabia's economic prosperity as hydrocarbon generally makes a 50% contribution to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Western Europe, Asia and North America are the country's major partners in terms of purchase, along with many other countries.

Economy

Saudi Arabia has built up a solid reputation worldwide nowadays. In fact, the country's economy relies not only on the petroleum sector, which contributes some US$ 727.3 billion per year to its GDP, but also on the very developed and dynamic services sector which consists of religious tourism, banking, finance, insurance, trade, hotels, restaurants and government services, etc. As regards the secondary sector, it involves mining, construction and manufacturing.

The primary sector, finally, makes a 2% contribution to the country's GDP through fishing and agriculture, among others. This should definitely give you an idea of fields in which you are more likely to be hired if you wish to settle and work there.

Politics

Being an absolute monarchy, Saudi Arabia is led by a king, who has the final authority as Head of the Government and State. His powers have been transmitted by heredity, by his predecessor. Note that this system is known as dynastic tribalism. In fact, Saudi Arabia does not carry out elections, hence the total absence of political parties. Indeed, those who have ventured in this field have been qualified as illegal groups.

Climate

Saudi Arabia has a desert climate with very hot temperatures during the day and relatively cold at dusk. In summer, you should expect temperatures rising up to 50°C. However, given the size of the country, the west side has a subtropical climate with high humidity in summer and moderate temperatures in winters. You are also likely to have rainfall over the central area, including Mecca and Jeddah. In short, you will often feel hot in Saudi Arabia.

Expatriation

Expatriation requires appropriate reflection and planning, regardless of the destination. What differentiate Saudi Arabia from other countries is, above all, its society and its inhabitants' lifestyle. In fact, these are governed by religious laws. Hence, foreigners can find it relatively difficult to adapt there, until they start to understand and understand the country's cultural and religious subtleties. If you manage to overcome this challenge, Saudi Arabia can be an ideal and attractive destination for expatriation.

In spite of all paradoxes, Saudi Arabia sails between old traditions and modernism. Millions of foreigners have decided to live and work within the monarchy so as to benefit from its economic prosperity and various opportunities and benefits attached.

According to many Expat.com members who have posted on forum, their decision to settle in Saudi Arabia has been motivated by the following:

  • expatriation premium and absence of tax
  • learning Arabic
  • the price of food and petroleum products
  • earlier family afternoon
  • beautiful and breathtaking landscapes
  • discovering another culture
  • simple and stress-free lifestyle
  • climate despite the warmth
  • higher wages than in many countries.

 Useful links:

Expat.com - Saudi Arabia Forum 
Saudi Embassy www.saudiembassy.net
Saudi Tourism sauditourism.sa

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