After repealing a decades-long ban on cinemas, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia(KSA) has now launched an ambitious drive to become a cultural, technology and entertainment hub as part of sweeping modernization plans for the country’s “Vision 2030”. The conservative Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced the project “Quality of Life Program 2020,” on Thursday night in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, an initiative in which the country will invest 130 billion riyals ($34.7 billion dollars) in culture and modern technology by 2020.
Many film stars such as American actress Katie Holmes and British actor-cum-director Idris Elba attended the event along with a lot of Saudi officials.
Ahmad al-Mazid, who leads the project for Saudi Arabia said,
“The goal is to create “a true cultural industry, with theatres, cinemas and training centers equipped with modern technology”
The project includes a lot of things such as an aquatic center, 16 entertainment complexes, and three other huge leisure hubs that include culture and technology for all the people of Saudia Arabia. This project is a part of a bid, to ensure the major three Saudi cities make it into the global top 100 for the quality of life.
“Quality of Life Program 2020” project is designed to encourage wealthy young citizens to spend more of their leisure time in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia rather than going abroad. In Saudi Arabia, almost half the population is below the age of 25, hence this project will be quite beneficial for the youth of the country.
British actor Elba, who made his name as a gangster in the gritty American police series The Wire, said at the event that “Saudi Arabia gave me an opportunity to make my film here, it made sense on an economic model, I would definitely be here, why not?”
The Crown Prince of Saudia Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, wants to modernize his homeland, both in terms of liberalizing Saudi society and reducing the economy’s overwhelming dependence on oil. This project aims to create 300,000 new jobs and represents a key pillar of the nation’s “Vision 2030” reforms.