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Saudi Arabia to spend $220b to make Riyadh global city

Saudi Arabia is investing $220 billion to transform Riyadh into a global city by 2030, and expects to attract a similar amount of investment from the private sector.

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Saudi Arabia has delayed the launch of a major development strategy for the city of Riyadh up to 2030 until next year due to some “incomplete elements,” the state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday.

SPA said the development strategy for the capital is to be “finalized” in 2022.

Saudi Arabia is investing $220 billion to transform Riyadh into a global city by 2030, and expects to attract a similar amount of investment from the private sector, the head of the royal commission for the capital told Reuters in January.

The Gulf kingdom plans to double the population and economy of its capital city, currently home to some 7 million people, in the next decade.

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Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, is seeking to diversify its economy away from crude revenues by creating new industries and investment opportunities.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants the kingdom’s capital to become one of the world’s biggest 10 cities under his economic reform strategy.

Saudi Arabia creates 555,000 new jobs

Saudi Arabia created 555,000 new jobs in the last four years as the kingdom looks to develop $1 trillion worth of new projects that are part of its Vision 2030 initiative that aims to diversify the economy away from oil.

Vision 2030 is expected to lead to a $1.3tn investment by state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco into Saudi Arabia’s private sector in the next decade, as well as increased home ownership for citizens and a lower unemployment rate.

Petrodollars are helping fuel projects like the $500 billion futuristic development known as Neom on the Red Sea coast as well as developments in Riyadh, Jeddah and other cities across the kingdom, a report by global property consultancy Knight Frank said.

“Between 2016 and 2020, 555,000 new jobs have been created across Saudi Arabia and between 2021 and 2030, a further two million jobs are expected to materialise,” Faisal Durrani, partner and head of Middle East Research at Knight Frank, told The National, quoting data from Oxford Economics.

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The kingdom’s economic reforms have led to the emergence of new quasi-government entities and there is a growing demand from businesses to set up their operations in Saudi Arabia to capitalise on new opportunities, Mr Durrani said.

Reuters with additional input by GVS News Desk