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Raising Saudi Arabia’s quality of life is a work in progress

Saudi Arabia's QOL programme is spurring investment in culture, heritage, entertainment, tourism and sport

Saudi quality of life girls culture dancing Wam
Culture and heritage is one of the six areas targeted for investment by the Saudi quality of life programme

Saudi Arabia is aiming to improve the standard of living and quality of life for all by empowering the private sector, diversifying its economy, improving health and education, and guiding 32 million people to lead more fruitful and engaging lives. 

Spearheaded by the kingdom’s Vision 2030, the country is transforming itself through 11 “vision realisation programmes” (VRPs) that aim to meet objectives across a range of sectors. 

The quality of life programme (QOL), a VRP launched in 2018, is targeted at spurring investment across six sectors: culture and heritage, entertainment and hobbies, tourism, sport, urban design, and security. 

Saudi Arabia is sourcing a wide array of local and international partners to help stimulate ideas for its plans, foster new technologies and implement the world’s best practices. 

At the national level QOL works closely with ministries and government entities to enhance legislation, create better experiences and improve services. In addition, we collaborate with organisations and civil society institutions to share knowledge, transfer skills and ensure they have the necessary support to help them play their role in society.   

QOL is equally committed to fostering international partnerships. For example, in its efforts to enhance the local football ecosystem it has formed a partnership with Uefa to introduce a talent scouts programme, one of several initiatives that have benefitted more than 9,000 young Saudi athletes.

This programme aims to identify football talent in schools and provide players with the opportunity to join sports clubs and regional training centres. 

The programme is keen on enabling all ages and QOL has also joined forces with the Newcastle United Foundation to provide training for senior football coaches in Saudi cities, enriching still more the community’s sporting landscape.

QOL also works with leading global entities to empower local ecosystems. To enhance entertainment, for example, it has collaborated with Live Nation Entertainment, a giant US-based global concert organiser.

To develop Saudi Arabia’s culinary scene QOL has joined forces with Le Cordon Bleu Institute to set up training centres throughout the kingdom. Recently, two aspiring chefs from Saudi Arabia were granted full-time scholarships by Generation 2030 to study at the Le Cordon Bleu culinary and hospitality institution in Paris. 

QOL aims to reshape society while ensuring that knowledge, skills and capacities we cultivate will have knock-on effects for people globally

Generation 2030 aims to empower young people in other domains, bolster Franco-Saudi connections in arts, culture and fashion, and promote the exchange of knowledge and talented individuals between the nations.

In the arts, QOL has co-launched a traditional art works incubator initiative at Riyadh’s Royal Institute of Traditional Arts in partnership with the Royal College of Arts in London. The goal of this initiative is to promote traditional arts locally and globally, as well as preserve them for future generations. 

The cooperation between the two institutions includes developing academic programmes in traditional arts and crafts; holding specialised courses for artists; activating student and visiting teacher exchange programmes; and establishing joint research projects in the fields of arts and design.

International knowledge-exchanges are also central to QOL’s work. Last year, QOL formed a partnership with UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, to launch a three-year project aimed at helping local governments and policymakers make informed decisions for the wellbeing of people. 

Hobby platform

To empower its Hawi hobby platform, launched in 2021, QOL has formed a partnership with Google to offer hobbyists a variety of upskilling courses. To manage services for its quality-of-life systems, QOL has also teamed up with Alibaba Cloud to support cloud computing requirements.  

QOL aims to reshape society and diversify the economy, while ensuring that whatever knowledge, skills and capacities we cultivate across the Vision 2030 pillars will have knock-on effects for people globally.

With that in mind we invite people and institutions everywhere to join us in forging partnerships that help us strengthen civil society, empower individuals and families, drive innovation, increase social engagement, develop new talent, enhance sustainability, and breed new forms of mutual support and cultural engagement

Abdulrahman Alanbar is director of partnerships at the Quality of Life Programme, Saudi Arabia

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