The New StatesmanThe New Statesman

How Saudi Arabia is buying the world

By Quinn Slobodian

19 Jul 2023 · 19 min read

informed Summary

  1. Mohammed bin Salman is leading Saudi Arabia towards a future that mirrors the fictional African nation of Wakanda from the film "Black Panther", with a focus on technological advancement and economic diversification.

At the centre of the 2018 blockbuster film Black Panther is Wakanda, a hyper-modern civilisation on the African continent kept from the modern world by impenetrable geography and technologically enabled cloaking. Wakanda’s strength and security is provided by a natural resource with fantastic properties, the hardest and lightest metal in the world, vibranium.

Wakandans have invested heavily in basic research, developing their own weapon ­systems, aircraft and medical technology. The real tension in the film is whether ­Wakandans should keep their technological wonders to themselves. After a titanic struggle the film ends with the opening of a ­Wakandan-sponsored outreach centre in a poor part of Oakland, California. Wakanda chooses benevolence.

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content