Saudi Arabia: A janitor at the treasury of Allah

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Text / photo: Aris Chatzistefanou

A janitor pushes his gear up the top of an arch inside Al Faisaliyah, a skyscraper at the center of Riyadh.

Under a flourishing economy the exploitation of foreign workers is common. However according to modest estimates, the country known for decades as the Treasury of Allah could go bankrupt over the next five years, as the public deficit rises and the country’s 640 billion-dollar currency reserve will be dried out by 2020.

And as the price of oil might even fall to 25 dollars per barrel (as soon as the sanctions on Iran’s exports will be effectively lifted), IMF raises the alarm by suggesting privatizations and swiping cuts on the subsidies provided by the House of Saud to its subjects.

But how easy can it be to impose a “memorandum” on a country where youth unemployment exceeds 30% and young people, 37% of whom are under the age of 14, make up 2/3 of the population?

Translation: Panos Chatzistefanou