Saudi Plans To Eradicate Poverty Within Two Years


Among the plans the ministries intend to carry out is the approval from the Council of Ministers of SR10 billion for housing units to be built all over the Kingdom with the cooperation of governorates. The plan will also seek approval for the “Comprehensive Supporting Program” which will raise the income of families living below the poverty line. In addition, support will be given to the “Charitable Fund” for combating poverty which was established several years ago.

Addressing the media here, Al-Gosaibi unveiled the Kingdom’s 2nd United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report. The minister said that Saudi Arabia had achieved nine of the 11 specific goals almost a decade before the deadline. The ceremony was also attended by El-Mostafa Benlamlih, UNDP resident representative.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has surpassed the percentages specified for it in the United Nations Development Goals by meeting the goals before the 2015 deadline,” Al-Gosaibi said. As for the two remaining specific goals in the areas of curbing natural waste and improving living conditions in remote areas, the minister said that even though their deadline had not arrived, efforts were under way to solve them under the national development plan.

Al-Gosaibi explained that the success was achieved because the UN goals were similar to those of the government in its Eighth Development Plan (2005-2009). “Between the first and second report submitted to the UNDP, the Kingdom finished planning the Eighth Development Plan and began to implement it,” he said. “The Kingdom’s policy in implementing the Millennium Development Goals meets the national development scheme that illustrates the country’s achievements,” he added.

He said the Kingdom had been dependent on national development plans since they were started in 1969 and that they had been a strategic basis for overall growth and development in Saudi Arabia. The principal elements of the Eighth National Development Plan include better living conditions for nationals, providing jobs for citizens, expanding social and municipal projects in the areas of housing, water and sewage and using modern technology.

The plan also seeks to diversify the national economy and improve future potential strategic industries as well as encourage the private sector to play a major role in the country’s development.

On the role of women, Al-Gosaibi said that the Eighth National Development Plan called for removing obstacles which stand in the way of women participating in the country’s social and economic progress.

“The plan gives special importance to greater participation of women by developing the skills of Saudi women and removing obstacles in economic and social development schemes,” he stressed.

The minister said that a visitor to the Kingdom three decades ago who returned now would notice the development achieved in the country during the period. He gave several examples of development in the Kingdom from 1970 to 2005.

The number of students, he said, increased 10 times, noting that they had risen from 500,000 (boys and girls) to 5 million. “In the period, 13,163 elementary schools have been built with an average of a school being built every day in the past 35 years,” he said. As for intermediate schools, the minister mentioned that 7,086 schools were built in the Kingdom between 1970 and 2005, an average of a school being built every two days.

Millennium Goals at a Glance

The “Millennium Development Goals” is part of the United Nations mission to support peace, security, and sustainable development worldwide. The goals are divided into eight general goals, eleven specific goals, and 48 indicators for evaluation before its deadline on 2015.

The eight general goals are:

• Eradicating acute poverty and hunger;

• Establishing compulsory elementary education;

• Reinforcing the equality between the sexes;

• Reducing the mortality rate among children;

• Improving the pre- and post-natal care;

• Combating AIDS, malaria and other diseases;

• Preserving environmental stability;

• Developing and international partnership for economic growth.

Specific targets in the Millennium Development Goals are:

• Reducing the percentage people whose income is less than one US dollar a day by half;

• Reducing the percentage of population who suffer from hunger;

• Guaranteeing elementary education to all children;

• Closing the gender gap in education;

• Reducing the mortality rate of children younger than five years by one third;

• Reducing the infant mortality rate by 25 percent;

• Reducing the number of HIV positive people;

• Reducing the number of people with malaria and other preventable diseases;

• Implementing sound policies in countries to reduce environmental pollution;

• Reducing the number of people who do not have access to clean drinking water; and

• Improving the quality of life in heavily populated areas.

Development Facts

• The number of Saudi nationals who earn less than $ 2 a day (SR7) is 1.63 percent of the total population.

• The percentage of children less than five years of age who suffer from weight loss due to hunger conditions is 6.4 percent.

• The literacy rate for Saudis between the ages of 15 and 24 is 95.8 percent.

• The percentage of women as part of the total non-agricultural work force in Saudi Arabia is 16.5 percent.

• The infant mortality rate in the Kingdom is 18.5 per 1,000 births.

• The number of women in Saudi Arabia that die during childbirth is 12 per 1,000 births.

• The number of people with malaria is estimated at 4.7 per 100,000 people.

• The Kingdom has 4.1 percent of its land declared protected ecological zones.

• The number of Saudis who have access to clean drinking water is 95.8 percent.

• The number of Saudis who have sewage systems in their households is 98.6 percent.


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