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Saudi Arabia
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Saudi Arabia

Country Profile

Capital: Riyadh (pop. 4.7 million)

Major Cities: Jeddah, Makkah, Al Madinah, Dammam with Al Khobar and Dhahran, (capital of the Eastern Region), Taif.

Local Time: UTC +3h


Location: Asia, Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen.
Area: 2 250 000 sq. km. (868 730 sq. mi.), about one-fourth the size of the continental USA.
Terrain: Deserts, plateaus, mountains in the southwest.
Border countries: (Bahrain) Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, UAE, Yemen

Arid, with great extremes of temperature in the interior; humidity and temperature are both high along the coast.

Monarchy with Council of Ministers and Consultative Council.
Head of State and Prime Minister: King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
Unification: 23 September 1932.
Constitution: The Holy Qur'an (Governed according to Islamic Law)
Executive: King (chief of state and head of government)
Legislative: none; a Consultative Council with advisory powers was formed September 1993.
Judicial: Supreme Council of Justice, Islamic Courts of First Instance and Appeals.
Political parties: None.

Nationality: Noun: Saudi(s) Adjective: Saudi Arabian or Saudi.
Population: 23.5 million (Saudi citizens 74.8%; 25.2% non-Saudi residents)
GNI per capita PPP: $ 13 123 (year) Ethnic groups: Arab (90% of native pop.), Afro-Asian (10% of native pop.) Religion: Islam
Language: Arabic (official)
Literacy: male 88%, female 74%.


Currency: Saudi Riyal (SAR)

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper.

Agriculture products: Wheat, barley, tomatoes, melons, dates, citrus; mutton, chickens, eggs, milk.

Industries: Crude oil production, petroleum refining, basic petrochemicals, cement, construction, fertilizer, plastics.

Exports partners:
USA 20.6%, Japan 15.4%, South Korea 9.8%, China 5.5%, Taiwan 4.5%, Singapore 4.1% (2003)

Imports partners: USA 9.4%, Japan 7.7%, Germany 7.3%, UK 6.2%, China 4.4%, France 4.1% (2003)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Saudi Arabia

King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz

Majlis Al-Shura

Ministry of Information

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Diplomatic Missions
Permanent Mission of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the UN

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Royal Embassy

Saudi Embassies Abroad

Foreign Embassies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Presidency of Meteorology and Environment

Map of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Political Map of Saudi Arabia

Interactive map of Makka

Interactive map of Al Madinah

Map of the Middle East region


Saudi Arabia

Background:  In 1902 Abd al-Aziz Ibn SAUD captured Riyadh and set out
on a 30-year campaign to unify the Arabian Peninsula. In the 1930s,
the discovery of oil transformed the country. Following Iraq's invasion
of Kuwait in 1990, Saudi Arabia accepted the Kuwaiti royal family and
400,000 refugees while allowing Western and Arab troops to deploy on
its soil for the liberation of Kuwait the following year. A burgeoning
population, aquifer depletion, and an economy largely dependent on
petroleum output and prices are all major governmental concerns.

Geography Saudi Arabia

Location:  Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea,
north of Yemen

Geographic coordinates:  25 00 N, 45 00 E

Map references:  Middle East

Area:  total: 1,960,582 sq km water: 0 sq km land: 1,960,582 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly more than one-fifth the size of the US

Land boundaries:  total: 4,431 km border countries: Iraq 814 km,
Jordan 744 km, Kuwait 222 km, Oman 676 km, Qatar 60 km, UAE 457 km,
Yemen 1,458 km

Coastline:  2,640 km

Maritime claims:   not specified territorial sea: Climate:  harsh,
dry desert with great temperature extremes

Terrain:  mostly uninhabited, sandy desert

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m highest point:
Jabal Sawda' 3,133 m

Natural resources:  petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, copper

Land use:  arable land: 2% permanent crops: 0% other: 98% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  16,200 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:  frequent sand and dust storms

Environment - current issues:  desertification; depletion of underground
water resources; the lack of perennial rivers or permanent water
bodies has prompted the development of extensive seawater desalination
facilities; coastal pollution from oil spills

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Biodiversity, Climate
Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of
the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection signed, but not ratified: none of the
selected agreements

Geography - note:  extensive coastlines on Persian Gulf and Red Sea
provide great leverage on shipping (especially crude oil) through Persian
Gulf and Suez Canal

People Saudi Arabia

Population:  23,513,330 note: includes 5,360,526 non-nationals (July
2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 42.4% (male 5,086,541; female 4,883,942)
15-64 years: 54.8% (male 7,493,304; female 5,396,985) 65 years and over:
2.8% (male 362,780; female 289,778) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  3.27% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  37.25 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  5.86 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  1.28 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.39 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
1.25 male(s)/female total population: 1.22 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  49.59 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   70.2 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  6.21 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.01% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  NA

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  NA

Nationality:  noun: Saudi(s) adjective: Saudi or Saudi Arabian

Ethnic groups:  Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%

Religions:  Muslim 100%

Languages:  Arabic

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 78% male: 84.2% female: 69.5% (2002 est.)

Government Saudi Arabia

Country name:   Kingdom of Saudi Arabia conventional short form:  short
form: Al Arabiyah as Suudiyah

Government type:  monarchy

Capital:  Riyadh

Administrative divisions:  13 provinces (mintaqat, singular - mintaqah);
Al Bahah, Al Hudud ash Shamaliyah, Al Jawf, Al Madinah, Al Qasim, Ar
Riyad, Ash Sharqiyah (Eastern Province), 'Asir, Ha'il, Jizan, Makkah,
Najran, Tabuk

Independence:  23 September 1932 (Unification of the Kingdom)

National holiday:  Unification of the Kingdom, 23 September (1932)

Constitution:  governed according to Shari'a (Islamic law); the Basic
Law that articulates the government's rights and responsibilities was
introduced in 1993

Legal system:  based on Islamic law, several secular codes have been
introduced; commercial disputes handled by special committees; has not
accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:  none

Executive branch:  chief of state: King and Prime Minister FAHD bin Abd
al-Aziz Al Saud (since 13 June 1982); Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime
Minister ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (half-brother to the monarch,
heir to the throne since 13 June 1982, regent from 1 January to 22
February 1996); note - the monarch is both the chief of state and head of
government elections: none; the monarch is hereditary head of government:
King and Prime Minister FAHD bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud (since 13 June 1982);
Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz Al
Saud (half-brother to the monarch, heir to the throne since 13 June 1982,
regent from 1 January to 22 February 1996); note - the monarch is both
the chief of state and head of government cabinet: Council of Ministers
is appointed by the monarch and includes many royal family members

Legislative branch:  a consultative council (90 members and a chairman
appointed by the monarch for four-year terms)

Judicial branch:  Supreme Council of Justice

Political parties and leaders:  none allowed

Political pressure groups and leaders:  none

International organization participation:  ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF,
UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador BANDAR
bin Sultan bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud chancery: 601 New Hampshire Avenue
NW, Washington, DC 20037 consulate(s) general: Houston, Los Angeles,
and New York telephone: [1] (202) 342-3800

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Robert W. JORDAN (since 3 October 2001)
 Collector Road M, Diplomatic Quarter, Riyadh mailing address:   [966]
 (1) 488-3800 FAX:
Flag description:  green with large white Arabic script (that may be
translated as There is no God but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of
God) above a white horizontal saber (the tip points to the hoist side);
green is the traditional color of Islam

Economy Saudi Arabia

Economy - overview:  This is an oil-based economy with strong government
controls over major economic activities. Saudi Arabia has the largest
reserves of petroleum in the world (26% of the proved reserves), ranks as
the largest exporter of petroleum, and plays a leading role in OPEC. The
petroleum sector accounts for roughly 75% of budget revenues, 45% of
GDP, and 90% of export earnings. About 25% of GDP comes from the private
sector. Roughly 4 million foreign workers play an important role in the
Saudi economy, for example, in the oil and service sectors. Riyadh expects
to have a budget deficit in 2002, in part because of increased spending
for education and other social programs. The government in 1999 announced
plans to begin privatizing the electricity companies, which follows the
ongoing privatization of the telecommunications company. The government
is expected to continue calling for private sector growth to lessen the
kingdom's dependence on oil and increase employment opportunities for
the swelling Saudi population. Shortages of water and rapid population
growth will constrain government efforts to increase self-sufficiency
in agricultural products.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $241 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  1.6% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $10,600 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 7% industry: 48% services: 45%
(2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:  NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  1.7% (2001)

Labor force:  7 million note: 35% of the population in the 15-64 age
group is non-national (July 1998 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 12%, industry 25%, services 63%
(1999 est.)

Unemployment rate:  NA%

Budget:  revenues: $42 billion expenditures: $54 billion, including
capital expenditures of $NA (2002 est.)

Industries:  crude oil production, petroleum refining, basic
petrochemicals, cement, construction, fertilizer, plastics

Industrial production growth rate:  1% (1997 est.)

Electricity - production:  123.5 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0%
(2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  114.855 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  wheat, barley, tomatoes, melons, dates, citrus;
mutton, chickens, eggs, milk

Exports:  $66.9 billion (f.o.b., 2001)

Exports - commodities:  petroleum and petroleum products 90%

Exports - partners:  US 17.4%, Japan 17.3%, South Korea 11.7%, Singapore
5.3%, India (2000)

Imports:  $29.7 billion (f.o.b., 2001)

Imports - commodities:  machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals,
motor vehicles, textiles

Imports - partners:  US 21.1%, Japan 9.4%, Germany 7.4%, UK 7.3% (2000)

Debt - external:  $23.8 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid - donor:  pledged $100 million in 1993 to fund reconstruction
of Lebanon; since 1993, Saudi Arabia has committed $208 million for
assistance to the Palestinians; pledged $240 million to development
in Afghanistan

Currency:  Saudi riyal (SAR)

Currency code:  SAR

Exchange rates:  Saudi riyals per US dollar - 3.7450 (fixed rate since
June 1986)

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Saudi Arabia

Telephones - main lines in use:  3.1 million (1998)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  1 million note: in 1998, the government
contracted for the installation of 575,000 additional Group Speciale
Mobile (GSM) cellular telephone lines over 15 months to raise the total
number of subscribers to more than one million; Riyadh planned to further
expand the GSM system in 1999 by adding an additional one million lines

Telephone system:  general assessment: modern system domestic: extensive
microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, and fiber-optic cable systems
international:  Sudan; coaxial cable to Kuwait and Jordan; submarine cable
to Djibouti, Egypt and Bahrain; satellite earth stations - 5 Intelsat
(3 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Indian
Ocean region)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 43, FM 31, shortwave 2 (1998)

Radios:  6.25 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  117 (1997)

Televisions:  5.1 million (1997)

Internet country code:  .sa

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  42 (2001)

Internet users:  570,000 (2001)

Transportation Saudi Arabia

Railways:  total: 1,392 km standard gauge: 1,392 km 1.435-m gauge (724
km are double-tracked) (2001)

Highways:  total: 146,524 km paved: 44,104 km unpaved: 102,420 km
(1997 est.)

Waterways:  none

Pipelines:  crude oil 6,400 km; petroleum products 150 km; natural gas
2,200 km (includes natural gas liquids 1,600 km)

Ports and harbors:  Ad Dammam, Al Jubayl, Duba, Jiddah, Jizan, Rabigh,
Ra's al Khafji, Mishab, Ras Tanura, Yanbu' al Bahr, Madinat Yanbu'
al Sinaiyah

Merchant marine:  total: 71 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,071,315
GRT/1,412,125 DWT ships by type: cargo 11, chemical tanker 10, container
4, livestock carrier 3, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 20, refrigerated
cargo 3, roll on/roll off 11, short-sea passenger 8 note: includes some
foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Egypt 3,
Finland 1, Greece 3, Kuwait 1, Sudan 1, United Arab Emirates 1, United
Kingdom 3 (2002 est.)

Airports:  209 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:   12 11 914 to 1,523 m: Airports - with
unpaved runways:  total: 138 2,438 to 3,047 m: 5 1,524 to 2,437 m:
79 under 914 m: 15 (2001) 914 to 1,523 m: 39

Heliports:  5 (2001)

Military Saudi Arabia

Military branches:  Land Force (Army), Navy, Air Force, Air Defense Force,
National Guard, Ministry of Interior Forces (paramilitary)

Military manpower - military age:  17 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 6,007,635 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 3,359,849
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 233,402
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $18.3 billion (FY00)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  13% (FY00)

Transnational Issues Saudi Arabia

Disputes - international:  demarcation of delimited boundary with Yemen
involves nomadic tribal affiliations; because details of 1974 and 1977
treaties have not been made public, the exact location of the Saudi
Arabia-UAE boundary is unknown and status is considered de facto

Illicit drugs:  death penalty for traffickers; increasing consumption
of heroin and cocaine

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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