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Saudi unveils far-reaching plan to move away from oil

Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during a press conference in Riyadh, on April 25, 2016Saudi Arabia said Monday it would create the world’s largest sovereign investment fund and sell shares in state energy giant Aramco under a vast plan unveiled to transform its oil-dependent economy. The announcement of the long-term reform programme, dubbed “Vision 2030”, marks the beginning of a hugely ambitious attempt to move Saudi Arabia beyond oil, the backbone of its economy for decades. Although it comes against a steep fall in oil prices, the plan “was not created only” to face that challenge, the sandal-wearing prince said, answering questions for 50 minutes at a royal palace in a rare government press conference.

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