KSA launches water development projects worth $825m in Makkah and other holy sites

Kingdom looking to diversify away from oil and generate new revenue streams

Saudi Arabia has launched a number of water developments worth $825 million in Makkah and other holy sites, coinciding with the Hajj season for 2019, it has been revealed.

Citing the Saudi Press Agency, WAM reported that the projects include setting up a pipeline for carrying desalinated water from the Desalination Plant in Al-Shuaibah to Makkah and the holy sites at a total cost in excess of $233.2 million.

Additionally, in the pipeline is the second phase of Al-Shuaibah Desalination Plant, which has a capacity of 250,000 cubic metres per day, at a cost of more than $313.2 million. Among the other projects are water services projects including water networks, connections to homes, strategic reservoirs and sanitary drainage networks and connections at a cost of more than $159.9 million in several districts of Makkah and the holy sites.

This is also in addition to the Desalination Unit Project in Al-Shuaibah, which functions according to the Multi Effect Evaporator System at a total cost of $123.9 million.

The report added that the Saudi government is accelerating its economic diversification plans, as it looks to reduce its dependency on oil and cultivate new revenue streams by enhancing existing elements of the Kingdom’s business landscape, while also developing new capabilities.

As such, the country’s focus is on increasing the contribution of its non-oil economy to gross domestic product through the cultivation and development of a local manufacturing industry and through attracting foreign investment.

Under its Vision 2030 programme, Saudi Arabia has set the target of increasing foreign investment. Last year, FDI saw a 127% growth year-on-year, according to the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority. The World Bank has recently ranked KSA as the fourth largest reformer within the G20 in its latest Doing Business report.

In the energy sector, the Kingdom is offering investors the opportunity to be part of renewable energy strategy that will develop eight solar parks, the report said. An energy manufacturing project that includes wind towers and wind turbine blades is also being showcased, it added.

In the logistics sector, the Kingdom is keen on setting up car manufacturing plants and to develop logistics zones near major ports.

The new projects are an endeavour to reach a sustainable water sector that will develop and preserve the water resources, protect the environment and provide high quality and efficient services that will contribute to socio-economic development, the WAM report concluded.

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