By royal decree, Saudi Arabia’s weekend is shifting to Friday and Saturday as opposed to Thursday and Friday.
As our friend Ahmed Al Omran explains at Riyadh Bureau, King Abdullah ordered the change “for the sake of putting an end to the negative effects and the lost economic opportunities” that emerge from being on a different schedule as your neighbors.
The Guardian reports that Saudi Arabia is the Arab world’s largest economy and had discussed the change for a long time, but few expected the change to come so quickly.
The paper adds:
“Some Saudi companies, including food producer Savola, had already announced they would change their own weekend to Friday and Saturday to improve their co-ordination with regional partners.
“The fact that the change is happening in June, after schools have closed and while many Saudis are on holiday before the Ramadan fast starts on 9 July, means it will be less jarring, economists said.
“‘Instead of having just three working days aligned with the rest of the world, now you will have a full team for most of the working week that the rest of the world applies. One extra day does play a considerable role in increasing output,’ said John Sfakianakis, chief investment strategist at Masic investment in Riyadh.”
The new schedule begins Friday.