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Saudi authorities announce $800bn Riyadh expansion plan

Sustainability a major focus under the new plan to create mega industrial zone focusing on renewables and automation, and biotechnology and aquaponics

A $800bn plan has been announced by authorities in Saudi Arabia that will see Riyadh double in size in the next decade. The move aims to transform the city into an economic, social and cultural hub.

According to a report by Arab News, the plan involves the creation of a mega industrial zone focusing on renewables and automation, and biotechnology and aquaponics. Sustainability, energy conservation, the circular carbon economy and water management are also said to be priorities.

“You will see seven million trees planted in Riyadh in the next few years and King Salman Park will be bigger than Hyde Park in London. 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 15m people,” explained Fahd Al Rasheed, president of the Royal Commission for the City of Riyadh.

Around $250bn in investments 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, Al Rasheed explained.

He added, “We’ve already launched 18 megaprojects in the city, worth over $250bn, to both improve livability and deliver much higher economic growth, so we can create jobs and double the population in 10 years.”

He pointed out that Riyadh is also aiming to become a Middle East artistic and cultural hub.

“An opera house is being considered, as well as public art shows with 1,000 works commissioned from around the world. We have not seen anything like it since Renaissance Florence. It is a significant plan and the whole city is working to make sure this happens. We must also ensure the growth is managed properly, so there will be a focus on transport and logistics, including the Riyadh metro which will open at the beginning of next year. The aim is to increase productivity.”

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