It’s part of a major cabinet reshuffle in the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been undergoing extensive change of late.

A major focus area for the country is cultural reforms. Recent months have seen the opening of the country’s very first theatre after a gap of over three decades, plus plans to set up a national opera house.

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman breaks ground on huge entertainment zone

In February, Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority announced that it would stage over 5,000 festivals and concerts in 2018, double that of the previous year, and invest $64 billion into this sector over the next decade.

In a move to consolidate, organise and execute these massive cultural reforms, King Salman yesterday issued a royal decree – as part of a larger cabinet reshuffle – to announce the creation of a new Ministry of Culture.

Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan Al-Saud will head up the new division.

According to a report on Al Arabiya, the minster’s issued his first statement after taking over the newly-formed ministry saying, “The mission of this ministry is to cater toward culture in all its fields. Culture is part of the soft power which we hope to cultivate in service to country and national identity.

“Our vision, without a doubt, is part of the Saudi Vision 2030 and the ministry will be the main sponsor for all the advancement of culture in various fields, enhancing the Saudi and urban identities.”

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A second cinema has opened in Saudi Arabia

Earlier the information ministry and the culture ministry were combined under the banner of the Ministry of Culture and Information.

By now extracting the culture ministry and creating a separate entity, it is believed that the country would be able to focus far more on the implementation of specific cultural activities.

The breathtaking pace of reforms across sectors that Saudi Arabia has undertaken has been roundly praised. These include the lifting of the ban on women driving which is expected to take place later this month, the country’s first concert headlined by a woman in December last year and the crown’s prince more statement saying that wearing an abaya or hijab is a woman’s choice.

The arts and culture scene in Saudi Arabia is all set to receive a major fillip. Stay tuned.

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Images: Getty