Saudi’s Prince Sultan says jobs are top priority

National 0 minutes, 50 seconds

SAUDI Arabia’s Prince Sultan bin Salman says the kingdom has focused its efforts on one main target: job creation.

In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press at a summit in Abu Dhabi, Prince Sultan said that for years the government was “throwing funding” into sectors that did not boost the Saudi economy. Now, he says, “the biggest target today in Saudi Arabia is the economy and jobs.”

Saudi Arabia faces steep economic challenges to create new jobs for its burgeoning young population amid a plunge in oil prices. The lower prices of its main export forced the kingdom to post a nearly US$100 billion budget deficit last year. The prince is head of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage and the oldest living son of King Salman.

Oil prices rose slightly Tuesday, with Brent crude climbing above $41 a barrel, despite more disappointing data out of China.

Prices have strengthened in recent weeks largely on hopes of production freezes to ease a global supply glut.