Saudi Arabia plans reforms to end its "addiction to oil"

It also wants to increase the number of women in the workforce

Saudi Arabia plans reforms to end its "addiction to oil"

Hasan Jamali / AP

The Saudi Arabian cabinet has approved a suite of sweeping economic reforms which are intended to wean it off its dependency on oil.

Over 70% of the country's revenue came from oil last year - with the energy source providing this level of cash the state is extremely exposed to the effects of falling oil prices.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman conceded that the country is currently addicted to oil - he says that the new plan will mean that the country will be able to "live without oil by 2020."

He added that the dependency on the natural resource "is dangerous" and it "has hampered the development of many different sectors in recent years."

The prince told local media that this is not a response to low oil prices, "If the oil price goes back up it would greatly support the vision but it does not need high prices. We can deal with the lowest prices possible."

Part of the plan involves shares sold in the state-owned oil giant Aramco being used to create a sovereign wealth fund.

It also plans to increase the participation of women in the workplace.

The IMF welcomed the country's plan, calling it an "ambitious, far-reaching effort" - but it also warned that it will face challenges to enforce these new policies.