What does this mean for businesses in Saudi Arabia and beyond? Investors, both domestic and international, are bound to take note of the considerable opportunities that will come with the realisation of the ambitious goals set out in Riyadh 2030.
For businesses already operating in Saudi Arabia, the move to position Riyadh as a global city presents an opportunity to expand their operations and increase their visibility on the world stage. For businesses considering entering the Saudi market, the rapid rise and development of Riyadh might present an appealing investment opportunity.
Implementing Change Through Mega Projects
Riyadh's transformation into one of the world’s top ten economic cities will partially be fulfilled through several mega projects — many of which are already underway. The government's enormous investment in Riyadh's infrastructure overhaul and development is a clear indication of its commitment to making the capital an attractive destination for businesses and visitors alike.
Here are some of the biggest projects set to place Riyadh on the world stage.
One of the most significant projects underway in Riyadh is 'Green Riyadh' — an initiative that aims to make the city more sustainable and liveable. The project includes the development of green spaces and afforestation, to improve air quality and create a more pleasant living environment for residents and visitors.
This greening project will be irrigated entirely by recycled water, making use of the latest technology to conserve resources. The project is already well underway and aims to eventually plant over 7.5 million trees. Green Riyadh will make a significant contribution to the quality of life in the city but will also position Riyadh as a leader in sustainable urban development.
Qiddiya is a megaproject that is being billed as Saudi Arabia's first entertainment city. Positioned on the outskirts of Riyadh, Qiddiya will span an impressive 334 square kilometres and is set to include a range of world-class facilities, including theme parks, sports venues, cultural attractions, and a lot more. It will also be home to the first Six Flags in the MENA region.
The project is a key part of Saudi Arabia's plans to increase tourism and reduce its reliance on oil revenue. When completed, Qiddiya is expected to attract over 17 million visitors per year and contribute SAR 17 billion to Saudi Arabia's economy.
The completion of the Riyadh Metro will be a major milestone in the transformation of Riyadh into a global city. The metro system, which is currently under construction, will be one of the most advanced in the world and will greatly improve the city's public transport system.
The metro will have a total length of 176 kilometres and will include 85 stations. It is expected to carry over 3 million passengers per day, making it a vital part of Riyadh's infrastructure.
What Does This Mean for Business?
In total, the Saudi government plans to invest $220 billion transforming Riyadh into a global city. This huge investment will create a ripple effect throughout the Saudi economy, providing ample opportunities for businesses to capitalise on this newfound growth.
As part of their Riyadh 2030 strategy, the government also aims to double the city's population to around 15-20 million people and attract more than 40 million annual visitors by 2030. With such an ambitious growth plan, overseas businesses can gain a strategic advantage by expanding their operations into such a rapidly growing market.
The growing population will provide a huge boost to the demand for goods and services, presenting a significant growth opportunity for businesses of all sizes. Additionally, the influx of tourists will create new opportunities in the hospitality and tourism industries. And as the implementation of the above-mentioned mega projects continues, the demand for experts in the construction, engineering, and environmental sectors among others is set to increase.
So, if you're thinking of doing business in Saudi Arabia, or you’re already established here, now is the time to start positioning yourself to take advantage of the significant opportunities that will arise from the transformation of Riyadh into a global city.
To discuss expansion into Riyadh or across Saudi Arabia, along with the legal, strategic, financial and operational considerations contact Imad Adileh, International Business Leader.