Saudi Arabia to invest $220bn to place Riyadh among top city economies by 2030

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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Saudi Arabia will be investing $220 billion to position Riyadh among the top ten city economies of the world by 2030 and expects to attract a similar amount of investment from the private sector.

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman earlier announced the ambitious plan to accelerate Riyadh’s growth to become one of the world’s biggest 10 cities under his economic reform strategy which targets to cut the kingdom’s oil dependency and transforming it into a global investment hub.

“The government through the (sovereign wealth fund) PIF, the national development fund, and the Royal Commission for Riyadh is already investing about $220 billion over the next 10 years,” Fahad Al-Rasheed, president of Riyadh’s royal commission stated.

Riyadh, where around 8 million people live and work, has recently started to host cinemas and outdoor dining places under government efforts to open up Saudis’ cloistered lifestyles, encourage physical activity and make life more fun in the conservative kingdom.

The royal commission is further planning to make Riyadh a more livable city, with plans for big green spaces, more sports and leisure facilities, cultural activities as well as installing 1,000 works of art across the city.

“If we get another 7 million people to move into Riyadh, you will need housing worth another $200 billion and through private sector investments to accommodate that population, you will need another similar amount. The message is that the Saudi government is putting in its money first,” Al-Rasheed added.

Speaking at the fourth edition of the kingdom’s Future Investment Initiative conference, Prince Mohammed said he aimed for Riyadh to have a population of around 20 million people by 2030.

The Saudi government is planning to enhance the growing attraction of Riyadh as an economic, financial and investment hub by declaring more than 100 investment projects for the capital city in the next couple of months, with a focus on finance, banking, industrial, logistics, biotech, the digital economy and other sectors, Al-Rasheed said.

The sovereign wealth fund of the Kingdom is planning to invest about $800 billion in new sectors over the next 10 years. Analysts and bankers have said the plans will require huge amounts of external funding also.