Saudi earmarks $800 billion to transform Riyadh to Middle East social, cultural hub

by Maruf Adedeji
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Saudi Arabia has announced plan to launch a SR3 trillion ($800 billion) plan to double the size of Riyadh in the next decade and transform it into an economic, social and cultural hub for the region.

President of the Royal Commission for the city of Riyadh Fahd Al-Rasheed disclosed the ambitious strategy for the capital city ahead of key meetings of the U20, the arm of the G20 leaders’ summit that deals with urban development and strategy.

“Riyadh is already a very important economic engine for the Kingdom, and although it’s already very successful, the plan now, under Vision 2030, is to actually take that way further, to double the population to 15 million people,” he said.

He added that 18 megaprojects worth SR1 trillion (over $250 billion) had been launched in the city.

The megaprojects would improve quality of life and economic growth in an effort to create more jobs and double the population in the next 10 years.

All concerned are working to make sure the megaprojects go as planned.

About $250 billion in investment is expected from the private sector, with the same amount generated by increased economic activity from population growth, finance and banking, cultural and desert tourism, and leisure events.

The plan also includes creating a ‘mega industrial zone’ while focusing on technological advancement such as renewables, automation, biotechnology and aquaponics.

Other features of the plan include sustainability with energy conservation, circular carbon economy with emphasis on reducing emissions as well as water management.

“You will see 7 million trees planted in Riyadh in the next few years, and King Salman Park will be bigger than Hyde Park in London,” Al-Rasheed said.

Plans are underway to make the city of Riyadh a Middle East artistic and cultural hub, which the world has never seen before “since Renaissance Florence”.

Al-Rasheed said that the plans would be discussed this week during online meetings of the U20 linking Riyadh with Houston, the Texas oil capital.

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