Since its establishment in 1932 by King Abdul Aziz, the leadership became that of monarchy. The kingdom has been succeeded by various sons of Abdul Aziz, all who worked vigorously to shape and secure the country till this day. The Basic Law of Governance was published in 1992 to shape the political system of Saudi Arabia, including the establishment of the Shura council "Consultation Council" in order to assure the engagement of the Saudi society in policy making (Article 8: Governance in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shall be based on justice, Shura (consultation), and equality in accordance with the Islamic Shari‘ah.). The Kingdom is divided into 13 provinces; each province is governed by an appointed Amir, and has an elected Municipal Council in which both men and women can vote and participate.
Saudi Arabia's position in the gulf helps it resist the dangers and challenges that oppose any means of threat in the Islamic world and Arabian Peninsula. It also helps to maintain and balance the many tides that occur politically and economically in both the east and west. Saudi Arabia works effectively in assuring peace and prosperity in the gulf and hence, throughout the world. Saudi Arabia's political system aims to support the stability of the GCC and the Middle East through its serious efforts in maintaining oil markets, combating terrorism, poverty and upholding strong political and economic alliances with foreign countries.
Saudi Arabia maintains its economy by oil and non-oil dependency projects. It plays a leading role in OPEC, as well as holding 18% of the world's petroleum reserves. It has invested approximately 855 billion Riyals, in petrochemical industries, emphasized infrastructure, regional development, agriculture and foreign investments. It has succeeded in creating a new era to maintain economy by its "mega-cities", which are primarily aimed at driving innovation, financial growth and diversification of economic sectors in the region.
Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest growing countries in business worldwide; it's ranked as one of the best places to do business in the entire Middle East. It is ahead in major advanced economies and new emerging economies. Saudi market is a high purchasing power market and one that is continuously expanding. It also holds the largest free market in the entire Middle East, making up to 38% of the total GDP of the Arab world. Saudi Arabia has recently opened new business key sectors for foreign investment, such as banking, telecommunications and real estate. Its particularity is generally expanding private sectors and in trade.
In recent years, Saudi women have seen a great leap in their rights. Albeit slow, there has been an effective and progressive change. The Shourah council currently holds up to 20% of women, which lead to a dramatic increase in female employment and acceptance of women in work fields. In previous years, the most prominent role women played in the work field was teaching. Aside from the teaching role, Saudi women now play an effective role in education, medicine, sports and in legal profession. In the year 2015, Saudi women voted and participated officially in the Municipal election for the first time in history. Also, for the first time, women were allowed to nominate other women.
There has been a sharp increase in the quality of education in the Kingdom since its establishment, including the number of its universities, institutes, and colleges. Three of its universities have been included in the top 500 in global ranks. Saudi Arabia has invested an estimate of $42.7 billion (SR160 billion) on education last year alone, most of which focused on the scholarship programs, building new facilities and research centers. Saudi Arabia currently has 71,773 foreign students studying in Saudi universities, and 110,000 Saudi students studying in U.S., all in pursuit of higher education.
Saudi Arabia's counter strategy in combating terrorism was one of the most effective strategies studied in the (GCC) and also around the globe. Since 2001, Saudi Arabia had questioned more 1,500 individuals, arrested hundreds of suspects and also extracted many al-Qaida members from neighboring countries. The death toll alarmingly increased in the kingdom by terrorist through 2003 and 2006, security headquarters and government facilities were frequently targeted by al-Qaida. Saudi authorities aimed strategically to defeat al-Qaida cells within the country through its sound policies, concerted government efforts and international cooperation around the globe, especially the USA. Saudi Arabia played a leading role in eradicating extremist views at home through strict laws condemning acts of violence and by building The Care Rehabilitation Center, to help re- educate effected members of al-Qaida against terrorism and extremist views. It also invested more than $110 million to UNCCT to help provide international bodies in tools, technologies and methods to confront and eliminate the threat of terrorism. Saudi Arabia has also made its way up as one of the strictest financial control systems in order to help prevent aids going to terrorist funding.