Saudi announces plan to transform Riyadh into cultural hub for the Middle East

Saudi Arabia is launching a SR3 trillion (USD800 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.

The ambitious strategy for the capital city was unveiled by Fahd Al-Rasheed, president of the Royal Commission for the City of Riyadh, 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,” Al Rasheed said.

“We’ve already launched 18 megaprojects in the city, worth over SR1 trillion (over USD250 billion), to both improve livability and deliver much higher economic growth so we can create jobs and double the population in 10 years. It’s a significant plan and the whole city is working to make sure this happens.”

The new plan involves the creation of a ‘mega industrial zone’ focusing on advanced technology such as renewables and automation, and biotechnology and aquaponics. Also high on the agenda is sustainability, with energy conservation, the circular carbon economy with its emphasis on reducing emissions, and water management as priorities.

The development of the tourism sector is another focal point. The Kingdom recently set up a USD4 billion fund to develop the tourism industry. As part of its strategy to decrease the country’s reliance on oil and diversify the economy. Saudi Arabia has been investing billions into giga projects and transport and mobility schemes in order to welcome millions of tourists from all over the globe.

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