The total Saudi population as of 2010 was 29,195,895 million.
The Shoura Consultative Council:
The “Al Shoura” council represents one of the ruling methods in the KSA. It acts as a very important decision making body. Despite the system of monarchy, the authorized persons in the council take into consideration the opinions of many other elite groups.
The council, situated in Riyadh, consists of 150 members appointed by the king who sit for a four year term of office. The members of the council must be of Saudi nationality and aged no less than 30 years. Most importantly, each member must be a highly-skilled individual and be able to handle their responsibilities.
The council makes decisions, and provides opinions on general political issues, which are given to the prime minister. On specific issues, it gives the general plan for economic and social growth. It also studies the systems, lists, contracts and agreements with other countries, and then gives suitable suggestions.
In addition, the council examines the reports given by ministers and government sectors, which represent all parties that investors deal with, and provides feedback on these reports. As for the connection between the royal court and the council, the system states that the king, or his substitute, must give an annual speech in front of the council telling them the country’s internal and external policies.
The council also gives its decisions to the king, who, in turn, decides which decisions, are to be given to the prime minister. If the prime minister agrees with the decisions of the council, the work starts to bring these decisions to life. Otherwise the decisions are handed back to the council for further review.
Generally, the work of the “Al Shoura” council represents an insurance regarding the work of the ministers. This also keeps the policies (including economic policies) continuously valid, abiding by the rules, and practical enough, to suit the demands of all different types of people.
Living in Saudi Arabia :
This section provides information on the quality of life and living standards in Saudi Arabia. It shows business hours in the public and private sectors, and gives a glimpse of shopping and leisure in different cities of the kingdom.
Many Arabic and English daily newspapers are published in the kingdom, the two English newspapers are Arab News and Saudi Gazette. A wide range of American and European newspapers, magazines and books are also available in bookshops and news stands.
The overseas broadcasting services of different countries are available on short and medium wave radios in Saudi Arabia. Kingdom's broadcasting services broadcasts programs in English also.
French and other Languages :
There are four Saudi television channels available across the kingdom. Channel one is Arabic language station and channel two is English language station. English channel provides full-length films, short features and programs from European and American television sources. Channel three is a sports channel. Channel four is an all-news satellite channel which was inaugurated in 01-2004.
Measurements and Units in the KSA :
A royal script sets the Kingdom's measuring units, based on the decimal system, to be as follows:
Length: Meter and its transcendences
Weight: Kilo and its transcendences
Volume: Liter and its transcendences
Area: Square Meter and its transcendences
The cities and towns across the kingdom offer good housing facilities including apartments, private villas and compounds. Companies employing large numbers of expatriates normally have private facilities for their employees.
Expatriates have a marked preference for residing in compounds, although many independent villas and apartments are available.
Compounds usually offer a high level of recreational facilities and group transportation – for example for wives to visit the shopping centers and malls.
Air travel is the preferred method of travel within the kingdom because of the distances separating the main cities. Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) is the national carrier and has recently added 60 new Boeing aircraft to its fleet. It has a mandate to privatize and is currently in the beginning stages of outlining a privatization plan. In 2000, the award-winning SAUDIA carried 13 million passengers on 117,291 flights. All major airlines in the world offer services in and out of the kingdom.
Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport is 35 kilometers outside of Riyadh. The airport has facilities such as a hotel, a buffet, a bank, a post office, shops, and many rental car agencies.
Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport is 18 kilometers North of Jeddah, also with a hotel, restaurants, a bank, a post office, shops, car rental agencies and special pilgrimage facilities.
Dammam's King Fahd International Airport is 50 kilometers Northwest of Dammam with facilities including a mosque, a cargo terminal, a restaurant and a duty free shop.
The kingdom has multi-track highways, and daily train service between Riyadh and Dammam. At the end of 2000, the kingdom had 155,237 kilometers of paved roads, and in the last few years has been adding to that at a pace of about 2,500 kilometers per year.
Bus services are offered by SAPTCO and other companies, car rental facilities are available in all major cities.
The kingdom owns the largest marine network in the Middle East consisting of eight ports, or six commercial ports, and two industrial ports. They are Dammam seaport, Jeddah Islamic port, Jubail commercial port, Riyadh dry port, Jizan port, Dhiba port and Yanbu port and King Fahd industrial port in Jubail.
The kingdom has witnessed rapid advancements in the field of telecommunications. There are 1,000 telephone circuits with direct access to 152 countries. At the end of 03-2003, the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) operated 3.96 million fixed lines and 7.5 million mobile lines.
Although mobile phone penetration is at less than 63 percent of the population, rapid expansion, and upgrading of the network is under way. International telephone calls can be made to almost anywhere in the world. Internet Services are freely available, and the main cities have several internet service providers (ISPs), and internet café's. High speed DSL internet is also available.
The cost of mobile phone service in Saudi Arabia varies by the type of plan chosen. The basic service will cost SR 300 (US $80) for installation plus SR 60 (US $16) per month. Local and nationwide calls cost SR 0.35 (US $0.7) per minute at peak hours and SR 0.20 (US $0.07) at off-peak hours. An additional one-time SR 100 (US $27) installation charge gives access to international calls, the fees for which vary depending upon duration, and location of the call. We advice you to visit the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) website for detailed information.
Medical technology is continuously being upgraded in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom has its own facilities to train doctors, nurses and other medical personnel, and Saudi Arabians rarely travel abroad to get specialized medical treatment. These services now extend to the most remote communities in the country.
The private sector, which makes a vital contribution to health services, has expanded over the past decade. It operates a number of hospitals and clinics in the country. Major hospitals provide all sorts of sophisticated treatments including open-heart surgery, kidney transplants, and cancer therapy.
Saudi Arabia has one of the world's largest and best-equipped eye hospitals, the King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital, and one of the largest medical facilities in the Middle East, the King Fahd Medical City in Riyadh. The complex includes various medical departments, and provides housing for approximately 3000 employees.
Approximately 11,350 doctors, nurses and other medical personnel, including the Saudi Red Crescent Society provide medical service to the millions of people who visit the kingdom for the annual pilgrimage of Hajj. Immunization against TB, Polio, Hepatitis and Tetanus is freely available. Medical insurance schemes are available at reasonable cost.
Saudi Arabia's nationwide educational system comprises of more than 30 universities, and 24,000 schools, and a large number of colleges and other educational and training institutions. The system is open to each and every citizen, and provides students with free education, books and health services.
The government allocates over 25% of the total budget to education including vocational training and spends around 13.17 billion US dollars on primary education and research.
All levels of education are free for Saudi nationals, and private schools are available for children of foreigners working in Saudi Arabia. These international schools offer good education for children up to 14 years. Some foreign schools offer education up to 16 years.