Over the next 13 years, Saudi Arabia will hone its focus on an underdeveloped area of great potential in the Kingdom: the non-profit sector. In particular, it aims to raise non-profit contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to at least 5 percent.
Asya Alashaikh, the chief executive of Tamkeen Holdings, said that the main idea behind this push is to enable the non-profit sector to address real issues in the country, including healthcare, education, employment, youth development and corporate sustainability. Alashaikh herself is an example of work that could come from the push – Tamkeen works with clients to develop the principles of corporate social responsibility and sustainability.
Non-Profit Sector Major Plank of Kingdom’s Vision
Ahmad Telfah, the chief economist at Riyadh Bank, discusses the vision that Saudi Arabia has for non-profits.
“Currently there are about 1,000 non-profit organizations in the Kingdom – less than 10 percent of them are seen as contributing to the long-term growth of the country. The government’s objective is to improve the performance, efficiency and transparency of non-profit organizations to increase their benefit for GDP.”
The government is working to implement a variety of initiatives to achieve this goal, including increasing licensing for organization. At the end of 2015, the Shura Council paved the way for this by passing a law that allowed for civil society operation in Saudi Arabia.
“The approval of this law is a significant milestone for the country, especially those who were trying to serve as the third sector,” Alashaikh commented.
While improving the non-profit sector will benefit Saudi GDP, the initiative will also tackle societal, environmental and commercial issues, leading to indirect positive growth across the economy. Also included in Vision 2030 is the initiative to rally 1 million volunteers per year in the Kingdom to boost positive socioeconomic activity.
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