Saudi Arabia replaces labor minister, creates culture ministry
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman replaced the minister of labor and ordered the creation of a new ministry for culture as he seeks to modernize the economy and create jobs for the country’s largely youthful population, Bloomberg reported.
Ahmed bin Sulaiman Al Rajhi, whose family owns one of Saudi Arabia’s largest banking groups, was named minister of labor and social development, replacing Ali bin Nasser Al-Ghafis, according to royal orders published by state media on Saturday. Prince Badr bin Farhan Al Saud was named culture minister after the ministry was separated from the information ministry.
Al Rajhi’s tasks will include seeking to reduce an unemployment rate of 12.8 percent. Job creation in the kingdom has stagnated, even after the government pushed companies to replace foreign workers with nationals. The aim of the new culture minister will be to capture more of Saudis’ spending on leisure and keep it at home by expanding a narrow range of entertainment options.