Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman revealed a plan for the Kingdom’s capital, Riyadh, to be one of the largest city economies in the world at the second day of the Future Investment Initiative Summit.
“We are therefore aiming to make Riyadh one of the ten largest city economies in the world - today it stands at number 40, the fortieth largest city economy worldwide,” the Crown Prince said during a conversation with Senator Matteo Renzi, Former Prime Minister of Italy and member of the Board of Trustees.
“We also aim to increase its residents from 7.5 million residents today to around 15-20 million residents in 2030,” the Crown Prince added.
The Crown Prince noted that Riyadh was uniquely situated for expansion given its advantages in several key areas.
“Today Riyadh represents about 50 percent of the non-oil economy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The cost of job creation in Riyadh is 30 percent less than the other cities in Saudi Arabia. The cost of infrastructure and real estate development is 29 percent less than the other cities in Saudi Arabia,” the Crown Prince said.
“The infrastructure in Riyadh is already quite outstanding because of the work done by King Salman over a period of more than 55 years during which he managed and planned the city to grow form a city of 150,000 residents into a metropolis of 7.5 million people. Therefore, Riyadh is a huge opportunity to create tremendous economic growth in Saudi Arabia, and to develop industry, tourism, and great progress,” the Crown prince explained.
This growth in population in Riyadh is set to continue, with the Crown Prince envisioning the city expanding to 15-20 million people.
“We also aim to have Riyadh become among the world’s most prominent cities in terms of quality of life, tourism, and services in one way or another,” the Crown Prince said.
The importance of developing cities was previously noted by the Crown Prince during an announcement earlier this month of THE LINE in the futuristic city of NEOM, a new 170-kilometer (km) belt of hyper-connected communities designed without cars or roads and in concert with nature. The communities will be powered by artificial intelligence technology designed to learn and improve the lives of residents and businesses.
“There is no doubt that the world economies are not based on countries but rather on cities: 85 percent of the world economy comes from cities and in the next few years this number will increase to 95 percent,” the Crown Prince said.
“Therefore, true growth begins in the city, whether in terms of industry, innovation, education, services, tourism or other sectors. This is why in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia we must concentrate on the cities that have the potential for growth so they can achieve economic progress and growth in jobs and more services,” the Crown Prince added.
The FII summit has brought over 150 speakers together, some which will be attending from hubs in Paris, Mumbai, Beijing, and New York, while others attend in person in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The event had previously been postponed from December last year due to the pandemic and has adopted a hybrid in-person-virtual format.
FII takes place from January 27-28 and will be attended by tech pioneers, investors, executives, and policymakers to maximize the potential of this impact-oriented conference.