Middle East: Saudi Arabia

About Saudi Arabia

In 1902 Abdul 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.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Riyadh
Population: 22,757,092
Percent below poverty: NA%
Language: Arabic
Date of independence: 23 September 1932 (Unification of t
Form of government: monarchy
Title of Leader: king and prime ministers (separate
Natural Resources:
Environmental 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
Agricultural Products: wheat, barley, tomatoes, melons, dates, citrus; mutton, chickens, eggs, milk
Imports: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, motor vehicles, textiles
Exports: petroleum and petroleum products 90%
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: US 25%, Japan 10%, Germany 7%, Italy 5%, France, UK (1999)
EXPORTS: apan 18%, US 18%, France 4%, South Korea, Singapore, India (1999)


Saudi Arabia Headlines

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