Riyadh Metro will reshape Saudi capital, says EU commissioner

Updated 15 October 2017
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Riyadh Metro will reshape Saudi capital, says EU commissioner

RIYADH: Riyadh Metro is an impressive project, which will change the lifestyle of the people in the city, said EU Commissioner Violetta Bulc.
Bulc’s comments followed her tour of the ongoing SR85 billion ($22.5 billion) project in Riyadh.
She earlier inaugurated the second EU-GCC Business Forum, PPP and Infrastructure Investment Opportunities in the GCC in Riyadh.
“The deadlines are very demanding, but so far they’re following the deadlines well,” she told the media on the sidelines of the forum.
“As far as I could tell ... it’s moving well,” she said.
Describing the metro as the largest investment project in the field of transport in Saudi Arabia, Bulc said that she was happy to note that those involved in the project are using state-of-the art equipment and services for the convenience of commuters.
Bulc said she understood the completion date to be 2019, and described the metro as “the biggest global project in urban mobility.”
The metro, the biggest infrastructure project in the history of Riyadh, is an urban rail and bus system, and the project is on track, Pietro Bagnati, project director for the Italian construction group Salini Impregilo, separately told AFP.
“The project is going on satisfactorily. It is a priority project for the government,” Bagnati said on the sidelines of the forum.
His firm leads the ArRiyadh New Mobility consortium, one of three foreign groups building the six-line Metro project planned to cover 179km of the sprawling city.
The underground and elevated rail network is to be supported by a bus system.
New Mobility’s portion of the project — the Line 3 railway — covers 42 kilometers.
During her opening address at the press briefing, the EU commissioner said that the purpose of her mission is to focus on a new investment plan with Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries, which took 18 months of preparation by the EU.
The commissioner addressed the media following a meeting with EU ambassadors in Riyadh.
Commending Saudi Vision 2030, she said it is an integrated action plan, which covers the implementation of a vast range of projects with the participation of local businessmen.
Bulc also said that she was touched by the hospitality of the people, who were cooperating with free and frank discussions.
Her talks with government officials focused on transport — railways and aviation — and digitization of these projects.
She added that other areas, including research and innovation in transport projects and urban mobility, crowd congestion and pollution, were also taken up during the talks.
In the field of aviation, she said it was agreed to sign trade agreements between the two parties.
Bulc said she had the opportunity of meeting a group of local women and praised the tremendous improvements in their lifestyle.
Bulc said that the literacy rate among women has greatly improved and she was happy to see a large number of women graduates completing their respective degrees at local and foreign universities.


Events celebrating Saudi Souq Okaz festival kick off on Wednesday

Events are planned across the country to accompany the Souq Okaz festival. (AFP)
Updated 19 June 2018
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Events celebrating Saudi Souq Okaz festival kick off on Wednesday

  • Makkah will host a show creatively presenting the historical convoys of trade souqs
  • Riyadh and the Eastern Province will be hosting heritage and cultural events such as a show that presents the story of buying and selling in Souq Okaz and encourages people to visit the souq’s events

JEDDAH: Events accompanying Souq Okaz that promote the market and invite people to visit its cultural and heritage activities will kick off on Wednesday, under the patronage of King Salman. The Souq is organized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) and will run June 27 to July 13.

Makkah will host the event of “The Historical Convoys of Thi Al-Mejna and Thi Al-Mijaz Souqs,” a show creatively presenting the historical convoys of trade souqs. These convoys show the method traders adopted to beat travel exhaustion and entertain themselves as they would sing about Souq Okaz and invite people to visit it.

Madinah will host the event “Let’s go to Souq Okaz,” which will encourage people to attend the cultural and heritage events. This event includes activities such as folk shows and interactive, innovative and heritage competitions.

Jeddah will host several cultural seminars focusing on the history of the souq as well as poetry readings and a theatrical show that represents the story of buying and selling in Souq Okaz.

Riyadh and the Eastern Province will be hosting heritage and cultural events such as a show that presents the story of buying and selling in Souq Okaz and encourages people to visit the souq’s events.

Taif will host “Souq Okaz for Performance Arts,” an event that includes heritage and cultural performance activities that reflect the souq’s identity in Al-Hada, Shifa and Ar-Rudaf Park. 

The events accompanying the souq this year will be launched on Friday in Al-Baha and many archaeological sites in the provinces of Al-Mikhwat, Al-Qura and Al-Mandaq.

The events include the camel convoy, horse shows, traditional folk and dancing shows, artifacts, Saudi traditional dishes and the introduction of some popular traditional and historical souqs in the regions.