A recent ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey 2018 has revealed that vast across the Middle East sincerely support Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his policies, particularly his far-reaching anti-corruption drive.
The survey goes on to show that 91% of surveyed youngsters between the ages of 18 and 24 approve of Prince Mohammed’s appointment as the kingdom’s crown prince, with 90 % of Saudi respondents in that age group saying they believe he is taking Saudi Arabia in the right direction.
In fact a vast majority of young Saudis, i.e. 97 % said they believe the Crown Prince to be a strong leader, a sentiment shared by 64 % of respondents across the MENA region surveyed.
Interestingly Arab youth – both in Saudi Arabia and abroad – were found to be overwhelmingly in favor of Mohammed bin Salman’s anti-corruption drive, with 94 % of Saudi youth saying they support the campaign, compared to 89 % elsewhere in the GCC, 85 % in North Africa, and 83 % in the Levant.
Most Saudi youth in fact seem highly hopeful of Crown Prince’s Saudi Vision 2030, with 92 % saying it would be a success. The figure rises to 94 % among young women, compared to 91 % of men.
Finally the survey showed that 15 % of Arab Youth – and 25 % in the GCC – said they believe Mohammed bin Salman will have a bigger impact on the region than any other Arab leader over the course of the next 10 years.
Bernard Haykel, professor of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University, said, “This data must come as very good news to MBS and the policy team around him, and he must certainly seek to capitalize on the goodwill and favor he enjoys.”
“To make sense of the numbers, once has to appreciate the context today of the Arab world and of the kingdom in particular,” he added. “There is a deep and broad desire across these societies for reform, and the youth see MBS as the most engaged agent in its transformation.”
However, Haykel noted that he believes that the high numbers in Mohammed bin Salman’s favor also are “fraught with danger”.
“They signal very high expectations among the youth about the change MBS can generate and the results he must deliver,” he said. “Their expectations have to be managed carefully, because reform and job creation will take time.”
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