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Author: Maha Fallatah and Makio Yamada
Regionally-balanced development has been one of the key policy goals of the Saudi government. Today, the need for job creation seems particularly acute in some regions of the Kingdom. According to the General Authority for Statistics, while the national unemployment rate among Saudi citizens was 12.3% in the second quarter of 2019, some regions reached higher rates, such as 20.9% in Jazan and 18.1% in Al-Baha; rates were lower in those with urban centers such as Riyadh (10.1%) and the Eastern Province (10.4%).While an ongoing tourism opening will start to create greater opportunities for local growth in rural regions, the key long-term challenge is to
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Author: Sara Almohamadi
This commentary argues that on some social issues, such as the current dress code for instance, there appears to be a discrepancy between policy changes announced by the highest level of state, and the wording of the law pertaining to the same issue.  
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Author: Andrea Ghiselli, Mohammed Al-Sudairi.
The narrative among Western pundits as well as government officials on China’s role in the Middle East is steadily consolidating around the idea that it will soon act in the region to expand its influence, at the expense of the United States. Is this really the case? The article offers a more nuanced perspective on the issue by taking the reconstruction of Syria into consideration and comparing how China and the Syrian government have acted and framed China’s role. The article argues that there is an exaggerated perception of China’s current or imminent role in Syria in the Arabic and English media which stands in total disjunction to
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Author: Mark C. Thompson and Makio Yamada
According to the labor market statistics for the first quarter of 2019, there were slightly less than 1.7 million Saudis working in the private sector compared to over 6.7 million expats: this puts the sector’s Saudization rate at 20%.(2) To further achieve labor localization, aligning skills and expectations of students/job-seekers with employer requirements should be a priority for policy makers. A facilitation of skills matching is integral to the Saudi economy’s transformation into a knowledge-based one; at the same time, expectations matching is also needed given that a large number of jobs currently existing in the Saudi labor ma
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Author: Noura Alshehri
The anticipated visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2019 is aimed at settling several mutual concerns and set to mark a new historical chapter in the relations between Moscow and Riyadh. However, the anticipation is not based solely on the fact that the Russian President will visit Riyadh for the first time since restoring relations
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Author: Mohammed Al-Sbitli
After two months since Bouteflika’s resignation, the Constitutional Council decided to delay the coming July election. By doing so the Council guaranteed one of the main protesters’ demands as they have been calling for this in the past few weeks. The continued demonstration and public outcry every Friday has forced the Military establishment, which has always insisted that it accompanies the democratic transition but it’s not part of it, to accept the implicit entry into a transitional phase. Whatever the case, the military appears to be wary of going into a dialogue that could produce new political figures and elites who are unable
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Author: Prof. Mark Schultz
Earlier this month Saudi Arabia celebrated World Intellectual Property Day for the first time, as the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) launched a nationwide intellectual property awareness campaign. This is an important signal of Saudi Arabia’s ambition to create a knowledge economy, vital to the economic diversification envisaged by the Vision 2030 blueprint. “You cannot be depending on oil in a world where the knowledge economy is the driver of economic development — manufacturing is 20th century,” says Fahd Al-Rasheed
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Author: Hesham Alghannam and Jihad Mashamoun
There was jubilation following the breakthrough in the negotiations between the Transitionary Military Council (TMC) and the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF), which meant that the prospects for a civilian-led council were good. However, on May 16, the head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, dashed hopes that a transfer of power would occur soon by suspending negotiations for 72 hours, and now the TMC continues to impede such a transfer.  
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Author: Emina Osmandžiković
Since 2011 the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has diligently worked to amend its traditional immigration and social integration system, thus developing a comprehensive approach to the reception and accommodation of displaced populations, with a special focus on displaced Syrians and Yemenis. The Kingdom has had a long history of assisting displaced populations both within and outside its borders, including the acceptance of Palestinians and Uighurs, a number of whom have become naturalized. However, nothing in this history has resulted in the creation of a comprehensive approach to regularizing displacement. Thus, the modification of the immigration
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Author: Oliver McPherson-Smith
The desire to harness the power of the sun to meet Saudi Arabia’s energy needs is understandable. With intense, year-round solar radiation, as well as a vast expanse of land, the Kingdom is blessed with the physical requirements needed to take advantage of this source of renewable energy. Likewise, the opportunity cost of the countless barrels of oil that are currently used for power generation is a cause for considering alternative energy sources. While the neighboring United Arab Emirates may have taken an early lead in developing a solar generation capacity, Saudi Arabia has launched a variety of reforms and projects that are rapidly establish
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