Dialing code +966
ISO 2 code SA
ISO 3 code SAU
Capital Riyadh
Main Language Arabic
Currency Rial (SAR)
GDP $582.8 billion 21st
Population 25,731,776 46th


Continent Asia
Location Middle East bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea north of Yemen
Land 1,960,582 km2 14th
Terrain Mostly uninhabited sandy desert
Climate Harsh dry desert with great temperature extremes
Natural Hazards Mostly uninhabited sandy desert
Note: Extensive coastlines on Persian Gulf and Red Sea provide great leverage on shipping (especially crude oil) through Persian Gulf and Suez Canal

Neighbouring Countries

Iraq Jordan Kuwait Oman Qatar United Arab Emirates Yemen


Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to Islam's two holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina. The king's official title is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The modern Saudi state was founded in 1932 by ABD AL-AZIZ bin Abd al-Rahman AL SAUD (Ibn Saud) after a 30-year campaign to unify most of the Arabian Peninsula. A male descendent of Ibn Saud his son ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz rules the country today as required by the country's 1992 Basic Law. Following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 Saudi Arabia accepted the Kuwaiti royal family and 400 000 refugees while allowing Western and Arab troops to deploy on its soil for the liberation of Kuwait the following year. The continuing presence of foreign troops on Saudi soil after the liberation of Kuwait became a source of tension between the royal family and the public until all operational US troops left the country in 2003. Major terrorist attacks in May and November 2003 spurred a strong on-going campaign against domestic terrorism and extremism. King ABDALLAH has continued the cautious reform program begun when he was crown prince. To promote increased political participation the government held elections nationwide from February through April 2005 for half the members of 179 municipal councils. In December 2005 King ABDALLAH completed the process by appointing the remaining members of the advisory municipal councils. The king instituted an Inter-Faith Dialogue initiative in 2008 to encourage religious tolerance on a global level; in February 2009 he reshuffled the cabinet which led to more moderates holding ministerial and judicial positions and appointed the first female to the cabinet. The country remains a leading producer of oil and natural gas and holds more than 20% of the world's proven oil reserves. The government continues to pursue economic reform and diversification particularly since Saudi Arabia's accession to the WTO in December 2005 and promotes foreign investment in the kingdom. A burgeoning population aquifer depletion and an economy largely dependent on petroleum output and prices are all ongoing governmental concerns.
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Life Expectancy 76.3 years 60th
Median Age 21.6 years 148th
Birth Rate 28.55 births/1,000 population 48th
Death Rate 2.47 births/1,000 population 202nd
Sex Ratio 1.04 male(s)/female 5th
Literacy 78.8% 148th

25.7 million


Roadways 221372 km 23rd
Railways 1392 km 82nd
Airports 215 27th
Waterways None km
Heliports 8 22nd
Airports paved 2 69th


Currency Rial (SAR)
GDP $582.8 billion 21st
GDP per capita (PPP) $20700 51st