Saudi goes ahead with goal of doubling size of capital despite downturn
August 13, 2020
Middle East

Saudi Arabia goes ahead with goal of doubling size of capital Riyadh despite downturn

LONDON (UK) – Despite an economic downturn because of the pandemic crisis and low oil prices, Saudi Arabia is forging ahead with its plan to double the size of its capital, said a government official.

President of Riyadh’s royal commission Fahd Al-Rasheed said the government has already pledged funds to the tune of $266.6 billion for ongoing and new projects. This is part of the total investment running into $800 billion (641.23 billion pounds) over the next decade with the cooperation of the private sector to expand Riyadh.

“The idea is for Riyadh to become a 15 million person city by 2030,” he said.

“Riyadh is already the epicentre of economic development in the country and the region … We have now the ambitious plan under Vision 2030 of doubling both our economy and population over the next 10 years.”

As part of his Vision 2030, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aims to steer the kingdom off its oil economy and build new industries and other major projects with the participation of the private sector. This is expected to generate millions of new jobs.

However, the country stares at low oil prices and the coronavirus which has hit its finances at a time when the government spending is the economic engine while major foreign investment has proven elusive.

Work on the Riyadh Metro and an industrial and financial zone is going on. Authorities had announced last year four endeavours worth $23 billion to improve the quality of life in the city.

They comprise an entertainment complex and sports venues, placing more than 1,000 works of public art and the creation of a park four times the size of New York’s Central Park.

(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field

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