Six gigantic projects that embody Saudi Arabia’s $ 7 trillion development plan
DUBAI / CAIRO / JEDDAH: Six ambitious flagship projects under development in the Kingdom aim to help transform the economy while showing the world and all Saudis the geographic richness, cultural heritage and hospitality of the nation , its economic ambitions and its environmental conservation aspirations.
These projects are needed more than ever to stimulate foreign investment and increase spending in the economy, as the Kingdom expects $ 7 trillion in government investment and spending to materialize by the end of the year. the decade.
But continued liberalization and economic reforms will be necessary to ensure their success, as will continued foreign investment, according to a finance CEO and economic consultant and former economy minister.
Nasser Saidi, former Minister of the Economy of Lebanon, now Dubai-based economic consultant, said: “These projects must be seen in the context of the broader objective of undertaking a structural transformation of the economy. Saudi Arabian.
“Faster and deeper economic diversification is imperative for the creation of sustainable jobs for its young population and for meeting the challenge of the global energy transition away from fossil fuels, Saudi Arabia’s main source of income and exports. .
“By investing in new sectors (be it tourism, digital economy or renewable energy) and regional economic development on its west coast, Saudi Arabia is moving away from over-reliance on oil and redefining the image of the country.
“This is why the gigaprojects continued (and related contracts were signed), even during the pandemic, while the budget tightening was underway.
“Foreign investors can be reassured by Saudi Arabia’s promising growth potential (eg in the hitherto untapped tourism, media and entertainment sectors) and the associated returns on investment.
“But these are all long term, long gestation projects. This is why liberalization measures (full foreign ownership, facilitation of long-term stay, reform of labor markets, authorization of competition, protection of property rights, insolvency and bankruptcy laws) are important to attract FDI.
“Foreign investors can also take comfort in the fact that gigaprojets are political standard bearers; they must be considered successful and they will continue to be financed by the PIF, SCB reserves, debt markets, etc. Notably, they will be much easier to do now when oil prices are high above $ 80. “
Tarek Fadlallah, CEO of Nomura Asset Management in the Middle East, told Arab News: “Tourism-related projects have been boosted by the Saudis staying at home. I saw it myself during a recent visit to Riyadh. The entire restaurant and leisure sector has been transformed by the pandemic.
“Projects like AlUla and Qiddiya are more advanced than others. Foreign companies and funds have effectively invested in them and brought them closer to their achievement.
“The gigaprojects strategy is extremely ambitious, but if they succeed it will be a vital contribution to the success of Vision 2030. It will continue to need foreign investment to help it function.
The six projects are:
The Red Sea Development Corporation
Aiming to be a world leader in regenerative tourism, the Red Sea Project is a luxury sustainable tourism project on a 28,000 km² site on the west coast of the Kingdom.
The Red Sea Development Company, established in 2018, is fully owned by the Public Investment Fund and will lead the development of the project.
Directly employing 35,000 people, the project showcases the landscape and rich cultural heritage of the Red Sea coast. Occupying an archipelago of over 90 islands – some unspoiled – with dormant volcanoes, deserts and a wide variety of wildlife and mountainous landscapes, it will focus on preserving the environment while relying exclusively on renewable energy sources, with a ban on single-use and zero-waste plastics going to landfill.
The master plan is the result of the collaboration between WATG and Buro Happold and includes design concepts from the world’s leading architectural firms. Infrastructure works have already started with 80 km of new roads completed and 10,000 workers are based in a construction village.
Aspiring to be a center of entertainment, sports and the arts, Qiddiya is one of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 new gigaprojects. The project is based on five main pillars: Sports and well-being, nature and environment, parks and attractions, movement and mobility, and arts and culture.
Qiddiya Investment Company is another private joint stock company established in 2018 and 100% owned by PIF. Its objective is to strengthen the Kingdom’s status as a leading tourist destination.
A “record” Six Flags theme park will contain 28 rides and attractions in six themed grounds. A key attraction will be the Kingdom’s first water theme park. With 23 rides and attractions, it is expected to be the largest in the region. Qiddiya will also offer luxury tent retreats, animal encounters, and outdoor adventures and explorations.
A speed park will include an FIA grade 1 racing track dedicated to motorsport fans as well as a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus, one of the greatest golfers of all time, open to elite and amateur golfers. .
The Riyadh-based project also establishes several arts and cultural centers, including an arts complex, festival grounds, a multiplex cinema and a performing arts center.
Aseer Development Project
On September 28, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a tourism strategy to develop the southwestern Aseer region with 50 billion rupees ($ 13 billion) to attract more than 10 million visitors by 2030.
Tourist attractions on the peaks of the mountains of Aseer will make the province a year-round destination, harnessing the tourism potential of its geographic and natural diversity, culture and heritage.
In addition, it will provide new employment opportunities, improve the quality of life and modernize essential services and infrastructure in the region.
The PIF plans to invest $ 3 billion to build 2,700 hotel rooms, 1,300 residential units and 30 shopping and entertainment attractions in Aseer by 2030.
Diriyah Gate Development Authority
On July 15, construction of critical infrastructure for the world’s largest cultural and heritage city began along Riyadh’s western ring road as part of the development of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority.
The authority was tasked by the Saudi government with redeveloping the “cradle of the kingdom” into a world-class destination, and said it would complete and deliver its first-phase assets by early 2022.
The $ 50 billion gigaproject will feature some of the world’s most luxurious restaurants and hotels, with all structures built in the traditional architectural style of Najdi.
The first phase of the project’s master plan will focus on a landscaped park, Wadi Hanifah and Bujairi Terrace, with 18 new restaurants, several of which will be Michelin-starred, while others will offer local Saudi specialties.
A gigaprojet, located in northwest Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea coast, NEOM is looking for entrepreneurs and investors.
In mid-September, around 150 design and construction companies visited the project over four days to explore potential partnerships and opportunities.
The project includes construction villages with worker communities of up to 30,000 workers, as well as offices, warehouses and construction service establishments.
At the end of July, NEOM Company and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology launched a joint project to build the world’s largest coral garden on Shushah Island at NEOM.
The initiative is a perfect example of Saudi Arabia’s pledge to protect 95 percent of the natural environment within NEOM. The 100-acre Shushah Island Coral Reefscape will demonstrate the conservation of coral reef restoration in a changing climate. The project is expected to be completed in 2025.
AMAALA is an ultra-luxurious project on the Red Sea beach in Saudi Arabia, focused on wellness, healthy living and meditation.
The project will provide guests with facilities and services providing a luxury experience in areas such as arts, culture, fashion, wellness and sports services.
AMAALA announced on July 27 a partnership with the Saudi Art Council for this year’s 21.39 Jeddah Arts to celebrate the creative and artistic talents of the region and beyond.
The exhibition will include part of AMAALA’s vision to promote Saudi Arabia’s creative ecosystem through art residencies, platforms and incubators.
On June 22, AMAALA received top honors at the Transform Awards 2021 with its partners, Landor & Fitch, winning the prestigious Grand Prix, which showcased the rebranding of the project’s visual and creative strategy.
Additionally, on March 22, AMAALA announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Saudi Contractors Authority, allowing AMAALA to share its potential projects with SCA members and then receive information on interested bidders.