Saudi Arabia says it will invest an initial $2.1 billion over the next few years in space-related activity to help create economic diversification plan to attract inward investment and create “thousands of jobs” for its young citizens.
A report from Reuters says the investment would be made during the next nine years (until 2030) and will be handled by the Saudi Space Commission (SSC) set up in late 2018. The full plan, with specific projects outlined, will be unveiled later this year.
“In the time where we live now, space is becoming a fundamental sector of the global economy, touching every aspect of our lives on Earth. Space business and space economy are expected to grow into the trillions of riyals as we go forward,” Prince Sultan, the son of Saudi monarch King Salman, told Reuters in an interview.
Prince Sultan was the first Arab to fly on a Space Shuttle (Discovery) in 1985. Reuters says that his aim is to see Saudi Arabia become a global player in the space industry.
Saudi Arabia is already a major (37 per cent) investor in the Arabsat satellite constellation.
SSC reportedly has pending agreements with major international agencies including the US, Russia, China, India and the UAE.