Plus, Saudi short films will go to Cannes for the first time. 

Fresh from his tour of the United States, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has headed to France.

He’s already making moves, too. The BBC reports that the Crown Prince has signed a deal with the Paris Opera.

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With the Kingdom’s first cinema set to open on April 18, and its first jazz festival taking place in February, public entertainment is growing in Saudi Arabia.

 

The coastal city of Jeddah will be home to the opera house, the BBC reports, and plans are already underway.

Further to news of the Paris deal, the BBC also reports that this year’s Cannes Film Festival will see Saudi short films entered for the first time.

The festival will run from May 8 to 19 in the French Riviera resort town.

While in the United States this month, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with everyone from Oprah Winfrey to President Donald Trump. The Saudi leader also sat down with former US presidents George W. Bush, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.

On top of that, the New York Times reports, the Crown Prince met with Morgan Freeman, Dwayne Johnson, Richard Branson, and Bill Gates.

The moves come as part of Vision 2030, the kingdom’s post-oil economy plan under which the government aims to increase the percentage of women in the nation’s workforce from 23 per cent to 28 per cent by 2020.

The initiative, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aims to make Saudi a more modern, tourist-friendly destination.

Under the plans, King Salman issued a historic royal decree in September, allowing females the right to lawfully gain driving licences in the kingdom from June 2018.

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Women will be able to attend sports events in stadiums in three cities from this year, and female students in the kingdom are now allowed to carry their phones while on campus.

Additionally, more Saudi females have been appointed to top jobsa royal directive allowed women to use certain government services without a male guardian’s consent, and recent approval was issued for the go-ahead of women’s gyms.

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