Foreign scholarships and flights become the latest in Saudi retaliation against Canada

Foreign scholarships and flights become the latest in Saudi retaliation against Canada

After announcing its discontinuation of scholarships for Saudis studying in Canada, Saudi Arabia will today ban its airline, Saudia, from

FILE PHOTO – NATO Alliance Summit in Brussels

Photo: Reuters/Reinhard Krause

After announcing its discontinuation of scholarships for Saudis studying in Canada, Saudi Arabia will today ban its airline, Saudia, from landing in Toronto. This is a response to Canada’s tweet criticising Saudi Arabia’s detention of gender rights campaigners.

The strong economic consequences Saudi Arabia is imposing in response to one official tweet by Global Affairs Canada may concern foreign investors. With 5% of international students in Canada consisting off Saudis, their departure will cost the economy millions each year. Even though Riyadh likely wanted to signal autonomy over their affairs, foreign investors may perceive the reaction as a reversal of King Salman’s social reforms. This is significant for the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plans to position Saudi Arabia as a centre for international business interconnecting Asia, Europe and Africa.

Expect Saudi Arabia to strengthen education ties with other nations, especially the US. In the long-term, Saudi Arabia may find it more difficult to attract foreign investors in their effort to meet the Vision 2030 goals.

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