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Cultural Interactions of South Africa and Saudi Arabia

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Two completely different places, South Africa and Saudi Arabia are both full of hardworking and aspiring people. Each living under different governments (absolute monarchy in Saudi Arabia and parliamentary republic in South Africa), in different environments, and different cultures. Although they are opposites in separate parts of the world, Saudi Arabia is the better faring country of the two, providing a more stable life for its people as it has higher employment rates, lower crime rates, and better nationwide health.

When comparing South Africa and Saudi Arabia, considering the economic conditions of each country is of the utmost importance. Saudi Arabia has a strong economy that is consistently growing (‘Saudi Arabia,’ CultureGrams), while South Africa’s economic growth has decelerated, and their international debt is at junk bond status (“The World Factbook: SOUTH AFRICA”). Under junk bond status, inflation is ever present, and many businesses are being forced to cut wages or employees, and taxes are increasing to compensate for money lost in the government. As growth has been slowed to 0.7%, unemployment is extremely high – 50% are unemployed in the country (“The World Factbook: SOUTH AFRICA”) – and junk bond status only promises for conditions to worsen. With so many people without jobs, insufficient housing, poverty, and financial inequality are high and strikes are common occurrences. Amidst bankruptcy and a failing economy, the quality of living is likewise lesser. In stark contrast, Saudi Arabia’s economy better supports its people and only 28.5% are unemployed (“The World Factbook: SAUDI ARABIA”). 21.6% more people have jobs in Saudi Arabia, which is almost ¼ more of the country able to provide a greater quality of life for themselves and their family. Arabians are more likely to afford housing, food, clothing, and fulfill their basic needs.

In terms of safety within each country, Saudi Arabia provides far more comfort and protection than South Africa. This is partly due to the economic problems previously explained that are evident in South Africa – the South African government simply can’t afford to support a sufficient police force (‘South Africa,’ CultureGrams). With an understaffed police force, the country can do little to prevent crimes and are unable to fight their high crime rates. There’s a total crime rate of 2.68 million (“Saudi Arabia vs South Africa Crime Stats Compared”, NationMaster), which is 32 times more than Saudi Arabia – a country that has one of the lowest crime rates due to their strict punishments keeping their country and people in line and peaceful. The Saudi Arabian government better manages their money to supply and uphold an adequate police force and justice system. In return, Saudi Arabia has effectively developed safer, friendlier neighbourhoods and people. In juxtaposition, South Africa has not been able to wisely handle their money in the past which has resulted in insufficient funds, dangerous communities, and sky-rocketing crime rates. Without a police force, South Africa can’t stop or discourage anyone from resorting to violence or thievery to get what they want.

Not only can South Africa not protect its own people, but the living conditions and sanitation are also very poor: 6.8% of the drinking water is dirty, 33.6% of the country lacks cleanliness, and the country contains major infectious diseases that pose a high risk of contracting bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and/or schistosomiasis. The most threatening and widespread is HIV and AIDs, with 7.1 million living with it, causing more than 110,00 deaths. Containing a physician density of merely 0.82/1000 (“The World Factbook: SOUTH AFRICA”). South Africa is ill prepared to handle any of these viruses. Unable to combat illness or insanitation, bacteria often run rampant through communities. South Africa is in such a rut that neither can they afford to do much to solve this issue of poor healthcare and lack of basic cleanliness within the region. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is very healthy in comparison. Less than 0.1% have HIV or AIDs and less than 500 deaths have been cause by it. (“The World Factbook: SAUDI ARABIA”). Plus, having a physician density of 2.57/1000 provides way better odds of getter help when sick, not to mention a Saudi Arabian is more likely to be able to afford medicine if it’s needed.

Overall Saudi Arabia is the better of the two countries because it supports a higher quality of life. In Saudi Arabia you’re more likely to have a steady job, sufficient housing, reside in a safer community, live longer, and be healthier. Looking at the bare facts, Saudi Arabia does fare better than South Africa as a country, but that does not demean the lives of those in South Africa. As we all are of different backgrounds and countries of origin, we all experience life in the situations we are placed in. Living up to the fulness of one’s life is completely up to the individual – what they want and what they are willing to do to obtain it – whether they are living in Saudi Arabia or South Africa is irrelevant. Learning about these different countries is important because it expands our minds and broadens our perspective; it helps us understand the situations of people who live in other countries and respect them as individuals. No matter how diverse our experience is, at the end of the day, we are alike in the aspect that we all are trying to our best lives.

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