Housing inadequate for 30% of Saudis

Updated 22 March 2013

Housing inadequate for 30% of Saudis

In opening remarks at the first session of the Jeddah Economic Forum (JEF), Abdullah Sadiq Dahlan, member of the JEF’s organizing committee and chairman of the board of trustees at the University of Business and Technology, warned of an imminent threat of a housing crisis exploding in the Kingdom over the coming years in the absence of realistic housing plans.
Dahlan said that 37 percent of Saudis do not own houses and pay rent, while 30 percent live in inadequate housing facilities. He also pointed out that the Kingdom is in need of 350 million sq meters to accommodate a growing population with 67 percent of the population currently searching for affordable housing.
According to statistics presented by Dahlan, 85 percent of the Saudi population lives in major cities such as Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, with Jeddah listed as the city with the highest population density.
Those who spoke in the first session were Joseph Danko, managing director of Urban Programs- CH2M Hill; Thai Ker Liu, director of RSP Architects Planners and Engineers in Singapore, and David Smith, founder of Affordable Housing Institute (AHI).
The specialists provided their insight regarding the characteristics and features of competitive cities in the 21st century, while addressing the key questions of how cities compete, how they attract capital and whether newly built cities compete better than existing cities.
In relaying Singapore’s successful experience in public housing, Liu highlighted that creating cities that stimulate economic growth and provide citizens with a high quality of living, should be the driving factors underlying urban planning. Liu said that 95 percent of the population in Singapore owns a house, an astounding figure given the high-density population of the island nation, which was a huge endeavor undertaken by the government over five decades.
Danko provided three key points that define competitive cities from his perspective, namely the need to embrace sustainable solutions in urban planning, accentuating the unique characteristics of a city and emphasizing a shared public realm.
He also underlined that urbanization has led to an unprecedented consumption of natural resources, which mandates a shift to sustainable economic solutions in development.
Smith reinforced the previous speakers’ comments regarding how successful urbanization is the driving force behind prosperous cities and affordable housing is what makes cities function properly.
“Urbanization is here already, cities that don’t plan their city landscapes will be met with unplanned urbanization,” he said.

FaceOf: Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi, president of the General Authority for Statistics 

Updated 22 August 2018

FaceOf: Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi, president of the General Authority for Statistics 

Fahad bin Sulaiman Altekhaifi has been the president of the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) since his appointment to the post in May 2016.

On Monday GASTAT announced this year’s Hajj statistics, revealing detailed information on the number of pilgrims (which amounted to 2,371,675) performing Hajj this year, their genders, nationalities and whether they arrived through air, land or seaports.

The president conveyed his gratitude to all government and security entities that helped the authority to collect data, and praised the 450 GASTAT researchers who worked to compile the information and deliver it to the public.

He said that the collected data would help facilitate better experiences and easier pilgrimages for future programs, and better services for pilgrims — from social to health, and transportation to security and food.

Altekhaifi received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from King Saud University in 1992, a master’s degree in statistics from Colorado State University in 1996, and his applied statistics and research methodology Ph.D. from the University of Northern Colorado in 2001.

He worked as a manager of a financial program at the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh from 1993 to 2005. For two years after that, he was a project director at the EIS department in Zuhair Fayez Partnership Consultants.

In 2007, Altekhaifi was appointed a manager of the research department at the Capital Market Authority, before becoming assistant deputy minister for development in November 2011. 

In June 2015, he was the director general of the Central Department of Statistics and Information. He served as the acting president of GASTAT in February 2016, before being appointed president on May 2016.