Happy 90th, Saudi Arabia: Expats hail modernisation drive

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on September 23, 2020 | Last updated on September 23, 2020 at 06.41 am
Happy 90th, Saudi Arabia, Expats, hail, modernisation drive

(File photo)

(Supplied photo)

Haifa Abdullah Alharbi, a Saudi businesswoman in Abu Dhabi, said the country is on the right path to modernisation.

Saudis in the UAE have praised their country's modernisation drive, including boosting gender balance, as it celebrates its 90th National Day today.

Haifa Abdullah Alharbi, a Saudi businesswoman in Abu Dhabi, said the country is on the right path to modernisation. "The Saudi leaders have issued laws that empowered women and bridged the gender gap. Women are now feeling strong and empowered because they have equal opportunities with men," she said.

Women now have access to good education and can obtain all government documents they want without the consent of a guardian unlike before, she added.

"Women have been allowed to drive cars, something that has eased family life. Also, Saudi Arabian women are now in various jobs unlike before. Women have been allowed to practise the legal profession and are now lawyers and advocates," said Alharbi.

In 2017, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, ordered that women be allowed access to government services such as education and healthcare without the need for consent from a guardian. He also issued a decree allowing women to drive, lifting the world's only ban on female drivers.

Moutaz Ozjan, 24, a media student at the University of Sharjah, said a lot of positive changes have been witnessed in Saudi Arabia over the recent years. "Many jobs have been created for the youths. Quality education and healthcare has been extended to all Saudi nationals, thanks to the relentless efforts by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence.

"We are witnessing tremendous growth in tourism as the country has opened up and many changes have been made to the entertainment sector. New cinemas are opening up in Riyadh. Things are just getting better day by day."

Effa Al Dabbagh, a designer, said she was "especially excited" about the support and opportunities created for the youth, and in particular, the creative industries.

"The leaders have created job opportunities for the youth - a clear signal that the country is on the path to modernisation," she said.

'We feel at home here in the UAE'

Moutaz Ozjan, a student, said the brotherly ties between the UAE and Saudi Arabia have enabled citizens of both nations feel at home in either country.

"When I am here, I feel at home. I don't miss my home country because I am treated like a son here. All Emiratis I meet treat me like a brother," he said.

For Effa Al Dabbagh, a designer, the UAE has been a home away from home. "Thirteen years ago, I started my Effa brand of Abayas here, and have always felt supported and honoured by my Emirati brothers and sisters. This is just one example of the brotherly ties between the UAE and Saudi Arabia." 


Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.

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