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Cultural Drivers and Barriers to Sustainable Economic Development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Abstract of the Student #Thesis: Abdulla Rashed Shafeea

In applied sciences, culture is a variable that cannot be easily deliberated upon or generalized across various economies. Culture, in its broadest sense, encompasses language, symbols, religion, arts, and more. Understanding the culture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its interplay with economic performance, particularly sustainable economic development, is of immense importance. This thesis identifies five cultural traits that have a direct, undesirable effect on the economic sustainability of the kingdom: lack of education and skills, women’s disempowerment, low efficiency, lack of trust and voluntary economic isolation, and lack of innovation.

The research explores the cultural roots and sources that perpetuate these traits, examining why these cultural characteristics have remained resilient over time despite societal changes. This thesis provides a detailed listing of these sources, including scriptures, literature, and common wisdom. It hypothesizes how these cultural sources feed into the identified cultural traits and how these traits, in turn, negatively impact the sustainable economic development of Saudi Arabia.

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