MIDDLE EAST

Saudi Arabia bids for 2034 World Cup

by Kirtan Bhana - TDS

Pictured (l-r) at the celebration of Saudi Arabia's Founding Day in Pretoria are Mahash Saeed Alhameli, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, Colonel Abdulaziz Al Turaifi, Defence Attache of Saudi Arabia, Sultan Al Harbi, Second Secretary of Saudi Arabia, Ali bin Yahya Najmi, Charge D’Affaires of Saudi Arabia and Salih Omar Abdu, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of Eritrea (photo supplied)
 

4 March 2024

The Asian Football Confederation has backed Saudi Arabia as it formally launched a bid to host the 2034 Football World Cup. This bid for football's greatest showcase, with a 3.5 billion fan base, is a clear indication that the modernization of the Gulf country has picked up momentum and the vision of His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – MBS the Head of Saudi Arabia’s government is being realised.

The roots of Saudi Arabia's civilization trace back to antiquity, with archaeological evidence dating back to around 7,000 BC. The land has been inhabited by various civilizations, each leaving their mark on the cultural landscape of the region. The birth of Islam in the 7th century further shaped Saudi Arabia's identity, as it became the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and the cradle of Islam.

On February 22nd, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia celebrates its Founding Day, marking a momentous juncture in history. To mark this occasion, a reception was hosted by Charge D’Affaires Mr Ali bin Yahya Najmi of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to South Africa in Pretoria.  From ancient civilizations to a modern-day powerhouse, Saudi Arabia has undergone a remarkable transformation, propelled by visionary leadership, strategic investments, and a steadfast commitment to progress.

Fast forward to the modern era, and Saudi Arabia stands as a beacon of development and prosperity in the Middle East. The discovery of oil in the 1930s transformed the nation's fortunes, fueling rapid industrialization and economic growth. Today, Saudi Arabia boasts the largest oil reserves in the world, providing a solid foundation for its thriving economy.
 
Ministers Al Fadley and Didiza and their delegation meet in South Africa
 

A meeting between Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen A. Al Fadley and South African Minister of Agriculture Thoko Didiza boosted trade relations across various supply and value chains. The Saudi delegation's visit to South Africa included senior government officials and industry representatives from various agricultural sectors.

The Kingdom's leadership has embarked on an ambitious journey of diversification, recognizing the importance of reducing dependence on oil and embracing other sectors to drive sustainable growth. Infrastructure and logistics have emerged as key areas of focus, with mega-projects such as NEOM, a futuristic city spanning three countries, and the Riyadh Metro, the largest urban rail transport system in the Middle East, reshaping the urban landscape and enhancing connectivity.

Tourism has also taken centre stage in Saudi Arabia's development agenda, as the Kingdom seeks to unlock its vast potential as a tourist destination. Vision 2030, the nation's ambitious blueprint for the future, aims to attract millions of visitors annually by developing world-class attractions, including historical sites, cultural festivals, and natural wonders. The recent opening of tourist visas to international travellers marked a significant milestone in this endeavour, signalling Saudi Arabia's commitment to welcoming visitors from around the globe.
 
The Formula One Grand Prix of Motor Racing will be hosted for the 4th time in Jeddah on 9 March 2024 - F1
 

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has emerged as a hub for sports, entertainment, and real estate development, hosting prestigious events such as the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the Diriyah E-Prix, and the Riyadh Season festival. These initiatives not only contribute to the Kingdom's economic growth but also showcase its vibrant culture and hospitality to the world.

In the realm of real estate, Saudi Arabia's skyline is dotted with iconic skyscrapers, luxury hotels, and residential complexes, reflecting the nation's modernity and sophistication. Projects like the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh and the Jeddah Tower, set to be the tallest building in the world upon completion, symbolize the Kingdom's aspirations for the future.

As Saudi Arabia celebrates its Founding Day, it is a time to reflect on the remarkable journey of this ancient land and the strides it has made towards becoming a modern, dynamic nation. With a rich history spanning millennia and a vision for the future that is both bold and progressive, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is poised to continue its ascent on the global stage, shaping the destiny of generations to come. -TDS


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