Form of Government: Absolute monarchy
Area: 2 149 690 sq km
Population: 35 013 414 inhab. (estimate 2020)
Density: 16.29 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 32° - 15° N; long. 35° - 56° E
Capital: Riyadh=Ar-Riyāḍ (capital) 6 906 595 inhab. (2018);
Currency: riyal (100 halalas)
Human development index: 0.854 (rank: 40)
Sovereign: King Salmān bin ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Āl Sa‘ūd, since 23 January 2015
Internet: www.stats.gov.sa/en (General Authority for Statistics)
Member of Arab League, GCC, OAS observer, OIC, OPEC, UN, WTO

Saudi Arabia

Al-‘Arabīyah as-Su‘ūdīyah, Al-Mamlakah al-‘Arabīyah as-Su‘ūdīyah
Useful information

International license plate code KSA
International dialling code 00966
Travel vaccinations requirement yellow fever (required only if traveling from a country with risk of transmission); malaria prophylaxis (recommended for some areas)
Electricity (Voltage) 127/220
Driving side rigth
Internet code .sa

GMT  +3
DST  not applied
Annual average temperature (°C) Riyadh 25.5; Jeddah 28.2
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Riyadh 14/35; Jeddah 25/32
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Riyadh 11/7; Jeddah /
Annual average precipitation (mm) Riyadh 101; Jeddah 55
Days of rainfall (annual average) Riyadh 20; Jeddah 14

Politics and current affairs

The country continues to grapple with the financial crisis caused by the low crude oil prices, exacerbated by the ongoing involvement in the war in Yemen. The international image of Prince Muḥammad bin Salmān is damaged by accusations of failing to respect human rights.

Geography.
It is bordered to the north by Jordan and Iraq, to the northeast by Kuwait, to the south-east by Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, and to the south by Oman and Yemen. It faces the Arabian Gulf to the east and the Red Sea to the west. The mountainous area known as Al-Ḥijāz in the north and ‘Asīr in the south flanks the Red Sea coast. Beyond this lies the desert, which is sandy in the north (An-Nafūd) and stony in the centre (Nejd). To the east of Nejd the plateau descends to the Arabian Gulf in steep steps at the foot of which runs a line of springs forming densely populated oases. The sand desert called Ar-Rub’ al-Khālī extends to the south-east. The climate is arid.

Government


An independent kingdom, created on 23 September, 1932, upon the union of the kingdoms of Nejd (Najd) and Hejaz (Al-Ḥijāz) and the emirates of ‘Asīr, Najrān and Al-Aḥsā’.
After the death of the country’s founder Abdul Aziz (1953), as is the custom the power went to his sons, from one to the next in order of age. The health conditions of King Salmān has given a lot of freedom to his son, Muḥammad bin Salmān, Crown Prince since 2017, who has arrested many members of the royal family and promoted sometimes rash initiatives, such as the armed intervention in Yemen.
The Basic Law (1992) stipulates that the king, “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” (Mecca and Medina), holds all power (legislative, executive and judicial); there is no distinction between the assets and wealth of the royal family and those of the state. The King is advised by a Consultative Assembly, whose 150 members are appointed by the king himself (in 2013, he allocated 30 seats to women). In 2015 the right to vote, only exercised in administrative elections, was extended to women and the minimum age was lowered to 18 years. The official religion is Sunni Islam.


Defence and justice.
Military spending in relation to GDP is among the highest in the world. Military service is voluntary. The judicial system is based on Islamic Law (sharia).

Defence
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Air force15.8%2015
Army33$%2015
Justice
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Crimes406per 100 000 pop.2002
Homicides1.5per 100 000 pop.2015
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Administrative division

Administrative divisions
Cities
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Riyadh=Ar-Riyāḍ6 906 595inhab.2018
Jeddah=Jiddah3 430 697inhab.2010
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Population

Population by age and gender (% - 2020)
75+
60-74
45-59
30-44
15-29
0-14
MALEAGEFEMALE

Foreigners account for approximately one third of the total population and more than half of the active population.

Demographic statistics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Birth rate17.2972019
Death rate3.5052019
Ethnic groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Arab74$%2005
Asian16$%2005


Religions
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Muslim93$%2010
Christian4.4%2010


Languages
DESCRIPTION
Arabic
Population by selected age groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
0-14 years24.9%2020
15-29 years23.7%2020


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Economy


Economic situation.
The fall in oil prices caused a budget deficit in 2015, aggravated by the cost of the war in Yemen. The country turned to huge foreign currency reserves and the issuing of government bonds. Cuts were made to high public spending (also reducing subsidies for energy, water and fuel), and in 2018, a 5% value-added tax was introduced, increased to 15% from July 1, 2020, though this led to an increase in prices and a reduction in growth, which became a recession in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All this compromised an ambitious investment plan (“Vision 2030”) approved in 2016, focused on diversifying the economy and social development. A slow recovery began in 2021.

Economy - General data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)106.49index2016
Agricultural prod. index (2014-16=100)132.48index2019
Economy - Employment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Active population14 455 502units2020
Active population, Females15.8%2019
Economy - Unemployment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Unemployment rate8.2%2020
Unemployment rate, Females59$%2019
Economy - State budget
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenses1 075 734M LCU2020
Revenues781 834M LCU2020
Employment by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture2.4%2019
industry24.7%2019
GDP by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture2.231%2019
industry47.381%2019
Financial data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Currency in circulation1 488.9BN LCU2020
International reserves472 850.971M US$2020
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Agriculture


Primary and secondary sector.
Substantial investment has been made in agriculture. The main farming produce is wheat, chicken meat and dates (Saudi Arabia is among the leading exporters of dates). The largest oil fields are in the eastern region bordering on the Arabian Gulf (Al-Ghawār, As Saffānīyah, Abqaiq, Al-Kharsānīyah, Abū Ḥadrīyah, Al-Qaṭīf, Ad-Dammām, Al-Fāḍilī, Khurayṣ, Abū Sa‘fah, Al-Barrī, Munīfah, Fazrān and Zuluf).
Crude oil is pumped through a network of pipelines to the major refineries (Ra’s Tannūrah, Riyadh, Yanbu‘ al-Baḥr, Rābigh, Al-Jubayl and Jeddah) and to the terminals at Mīnā’ az Zawr (Kuwait) and Awālī (Bahrain). Most of the natural gas is consumed in the country itself. Other industrial activities include heavy engineering (Jeddah), steel (Yanbu‘ al-Baḥr, Al-Jubayl), alumi­nium founding (Ras al-Khaīr) and construction materials (about 25 cement factories).

Land use
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
arable land1.688%2018
forests0.454%2018
Agriculture - products - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley627.9821000 t2019
cereals, total1 344.8921000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes472.1271000 t2019
roots and tubers, total472.1271000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cabbages11.1811000 t2019
carrots and turnips13.391000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grapes117.6391000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
groundnuts1.5091000 t2019
sesame seed4.1191000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Aromatics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
coffee0$1000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
fruits, total3 195.0461000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Citrus fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
citrus fruits34.9711000 t2019
citrus fruits, nes34.9711000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Tropical fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
dates1 539.7561000 t2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley91.6191000 ha2019
maize7.8391000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes19.0621000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cabbages10.3661000 ha2019
carrots and turnips0.6631000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grape5.3771000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
groundnuts0.3731000 ha2019
sesame seed1.6291000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Aromatics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
coffee0$1000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Citrus fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
citrus fruits3.9291000 ha2019
citrus fruits, nes3.9291000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Tropical fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
dates117.8811000 ha2019
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Forests-Livestock-Fishing

Forestry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
timber307 8252019
Livestock - Cattle
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cattle567.041000 heads2019
cattle and buffaloes567.041000 heads2019
Livestock - Sheep
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
sheep9 419.6861000 heads2019
Livestock - Goats
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
goats3 711.1551000 heads2019
Livestock - Equines
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
asses98.8031000 heads2019
asses and mules98.8031000 heads2019
Livestock - Camelids
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
camels492.8531000 heads2019
Livestock - Poultry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
birds196 9891000 heads2019
Livestock - Beekeeping
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
honey0.1371000 t2019
Livestock - Livestock products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
butter6.7561000 t2018
cheese100.51000 t2018
Fishing
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
crustaceans and molluscs74 441.525t2019
freshwater fishes9 165t2019
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Minerals

Mineral resources - Energy minerals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
natural gas113 776M m³2020
oil, crude469 110.61000 t2020
Mineral resources - Metal ores
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bauxite4 3051000 t2020
copper18$1000 t2018
Mineral resources - Non-metal ores
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barite41$1000 t2016
clay9.71000 t2017
Mineral resources - Rocks
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
dolomite2 3411000 t2020
granite1 1571000 t2020
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Energy

Electric energy - Generated
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- thermal355 318.12M kWh2018
- other renew.159.8M kWh2019
Electric energy - Installed capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- thermal85 4601000 kW2018
- other renew.3971000 kW2019
Electric energy - Total production and capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
total net generation355 477.92M kWh2018
total installed capacity85 547.391000 kW2018
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Industry

Industry - Iron and Steel, Metallurgy
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
alumina1 8001000 t2020
aluminium7901000 t2019
Industry - Machinery and transport equipment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
tractors118no.2016
Industry - Electrical and electronics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
air conditioners148 000no.2016
Industry - Petrochemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bitumen2 365.11000 t2019
petrol25 988.41000 t2014
Industry - Chemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
ammonia4 0001000 t2020
nitrogen fertilizers2 760.81000 t2019
Industry - Textiles
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
carpets5621000 m²2016
cotton fabrics0.25M m²2016
Industry - Food and beverages
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cottonseed oil16.7181000 t2018
fish, frozen4.571000 t2016
Industry - Paper and wood products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
other paper1 1861000 t2019
paper1 1861000 t2019
Industry - Glass and other non-metallic mineral products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cement53 4181000 t2020
sheet glass8 5421000 m²2016
Industry - Various
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
chemicals production27 772.394M US$2018
food, beverages and tobacco production13 998.037M US$2018
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Trade


Tertiary sector.
With several big banks and a stock exchange in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is the main financial centre in the Middle East. Religious tourism is extremely important, albeit affected by the pandemic; more than 2 million pilgrims go to Mecca and Medina every year.

Composition of goods exports
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
fuels80.369% of goods exports2019
manufactures16.574% of goods exports2019
International trade by country - Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
China7 830M US$2020
United Arab Emirates4 923M US$2020
International trade by country - Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
China26 509M US$2020
United States14 103M US$2020
Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
2020173 490M US$ -
2019261 603M US$ -
Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
2020132 754M US$ -
2019153 163M US$ -
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Tourism

International Tourism
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenditures16 415M US$2019
Number of arrivals16 214 000units2019
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Communications

Communication - Transport
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Civil aviation, km flown135 500 000km flown2004
Civil aviation, passengers carried39 350.31000 units2019
Communication - Media and telecommunication
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Broadband subscribers198.49per 1000 pop.2019
Computers693per 1000 pop.2008
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Social and welfare

Social statistics - Education
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expected years of schooling16.026years2019
Gradautes, percentage23.854%2019
Social statistics - Students and Teachers by level
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Students, primary level3 390 589units2019
Students, secondary level3 159 358units2019
Social statistics - Health
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Hospital beds2.2per 1000 pop.2020
Physicians3.3per 1000 pop.2020
Social statistics - Diseases
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
HIV-0.1% of adults2016
Malaria2 152cases2019
Research
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Research and development spending0.82% of GDP2013
Other social indicators
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking100%2019
Access to electricity100%2019
Household consumption expenditure
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
clothing, footwear3.8%2018
education2.6%2018
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