$5bn ‘Jeddah Downtown’ project at heart of Red Sea regeneration

$5bn ‘Jeddah Downtown’ project at heart of Red Sea regeneration
A night view of downtown Jeddah, better known as Balad. (File photo)
Updated 23 October 2017

$5bn ‘Jeddah Downtown’ project at heart of Red Sea regeneration

$5bn ‘Jeddah Downtown’ project at heart of Red Sea regeneration

DUBAI: The regeneration of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast will take a big jump forward with a SR18 billion ($5 billion) project by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) to lead the redevelopment of Jeddah’s waterfront corniche, to become “New Jeddah Downtown.”
The plan, announced on Wednesday, will generate 36,000 new jobs in the city over the next 10 years, to create “a unique tourist, residential and commercial destination,” a statement from PIF said.
It “aims to create a distinctive and attractive environment to support Jeddah’s ambition of becoming one of the world’s top 100 cities. The project will include spaces for entertainment, shopping, and commercial activities, which are accessible for both residents and visitors. In total, the project aims to deliver over 12,000 housing units to accommodate 58,000 new residents,” PIF added.
The project is the latest in a line of multibillion-dollar plans announced on the Red Sea coast, and could make Jeddah the hub of a trading and economic powerhouse straddling the Middle East and Africa.
The King Abdullah Economic City further up the coast will be augmented by improvement to the maritime infrastructure serving Makkah, as well as the gigantic Red Sea Resort project further north.
Initial preparation work in Jeddah is currently underway, with construction due to start in 2019 and the first phase of the project anticipated to open in the final quarter of 2022, PIF said.
“The project is in line with Vision 2030 objectives to develop tourism sites in accordance with the highest international standards and provide investment opportunities that contribute to the development of the private sector,” it added.
The project will take place across a 5 million square meter development and will be divided into six main sections, including new homes; new museums, and cultural and social centers; areas for business and innovation; gardens, amusement parks and sports facilities; hotels and hospitality facilities; retail spaces; as well as coastal areas for seaside activities, and walking routes along the private boat and yacht pier.
In total, residential space will comprise 42 percent of the new development, with 35 percent dedicated to entertainment and retail areas, 12 percent to office space, and 11 percent to new hotel and hospitality facilities.
No decisions have yet been taken on which contractors will be developing the site, a PIF spokesman said, but more information could emerge at the Future Investment Initiative event due to take place in Riyadh next month.

 


World Bank highlights Saudi progress in women’s legal reforms

The Kingdom’s strong performance comes as a result of a raft of reforms implemented last year to further expand female participation in the economy. (Reuters/File Photo)
The Kingdom’s strong performance comes as a result of a raft of reforms implemented last year to further expand female participation in the economy. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 11 min 21 sec ago

World Bank highlights Saudi progress in women’s legal reforms

The Kingdom’s strong performance comes as a result of a raft of reforms implemented last year to further expand female participation in the economy. (Reuters/File Photo)
  • The increase in performance was notable in five indicators on which it scored at the top of the scale

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia continues to make notable progress in women’s economic inclusion and empowerment, according to a World Bank report.

The World Bank Group’s “Women, Business and the Law (WBL)” report, released on Feb. 23, showed that the Kingdom scored higher than last year on a global measure of legal reforms to boost gender equality. 

On a scale of one to 100, Saudi Arabia scored 80 in 2021, up from 70.6 in 2020. 

The increase in performance was notable in five indicators on which it scored at the top of the scale: Mobility, workplace, pay, entrepreneurship and pension.

These scores put Saudi Arabia on a par with many advanced economies with long traditions of women’s legal reforms. 

The Kingdom’s strong performance comes as a result of a raft of reforms implemented last year to further expand female participation in the economy.

Saudi Arabia equalized women’s access to the labor market, lifted restrictions on their employment in sectors previously considered unsafe, and eliminated a ban on women’s night work. 

Last year’s report ranked Saudi Arabia as the world’s top reformer in advancing women’s economic participation for 2019, a recognition of the legislative policies the country established to boost female participation in the workforce, which it aims to increase from an average of just under 20 percent to more than 40 percent as part of Vision 2030.

Commenting on the report, Majid Al-Qasabi, commerce minister and chairman of the National Competitiveness Center, said that the Kingdom’s performance reflects King Salman’s commitment to enabling Saudi women to fully participate in the social and economic development of the country. It also reflects Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s efforts to ensure an effective whole-of-government approach to implementing women’s legal reforms.

Saudi Arabia’s reforms build on changes implemented since the launch of Vision 2030 in 2016, including lifting restrictions on women’s mobility, equalizing access to public services, guaranteeing equal benefits in the labor market, and instituting protections against harassment in the workplace and in public spaces. 

The WBL, a yearly publication by the World Bank Group, assesses women’s legal reforms in 190 countries, using an index with eight indicators: Mobility, pay, parenthood, assets, workplace, marriage, entrepreneurship and pension.


Saudi and Omani foreign ministers meet in Muscat

Saudi and Omani foreign ministers meet in Muscat
Updated 24 February 2021

Saudi and Omani foreign ministers meet in Muscat

Saudi and Omani foreign ministers meet in Muscat
  • The foreign ministers reviewed ways to support trade, investment and tourism opportunities
  • Prince Faisal arrived in Muscat earlier on Wednesday and has left the sultanate

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister met his Omani counterpart during a visit to the Gulf state on Wednesday.
During the meeting, Prince Faisal bin Farhan and Sayyed Badr Al-Busaidi discussed the importance of joint Gulf action within the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and following up on the results of the AlUla summit hosted by the Kingdom in January.
They also discussed bilateral relations and ways to strengthen cooperation in various fields that would lead to mutual benefits.
The foreign ministers reviewed ways to support trade, investment and tourism opportunities and developing scientific cooperation in the areas of energy, technology, transportation, cybersecurity, health and agriculture.
Prince Faisal arrived in Muscat earlier on Wednesday and has left the sultanate.


Saudi Arabia allows citizens married to foreigners to travel through border points

Saudi Arabia allows citizens married to foreigners to travel through border points
Updated 24 February 2021

Saudi Arabia allows citizens married to foreigners to travel through border points

Saudi Arabia allows citizens married to foreigners to travel through border points
  • Saudis married to non-Saudis will be able to travel with spouses or join spouses abroad

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has authorized citizens married to foreigners to travel through border points, a measure meant to facilitate their movements while international air travel is suspended because of the pandemic, state TV reported on Wednesday.
“The General Directorate of Passports announced the issuance of the royal decree to enable Saudi women married to non-Saudis to travel, whether accompanied by their husbands or joining their husbands abroad, upon providing proof of marriage certificate to officials at the port of departure,” a statement on Saudi Press Agency said.
The same applies for Saudi men married to non-Saudi women, whether they reside outside of the Kingdom due to work or other circumstances preventing them from coming to the country, the statement added.
The passports authority said that in the event that citizens are not able to provide documents proving their spouse is outside the Kingdom and unable to return, then they can apply for a travel permit via the Absher application.

(With Reuters)


WFP thanks Saudi Arabia for $40m aid package to improve food security in Yemen

WFP thanks Saudi Arabia for $40m aid package to improve food security in Yemen
Updated 24 February 2021

WFP thanks Saudi Arabia for $40m aid package to improve food security in Yemen

WFP thanks Saudi Arabia for $40m aid package to improve food security in Yemen
  • The agreement will benefit more than 2.2 million people and ‘help avert famine In Yemen’

LONDON: The World Food Program (WFP) on Wednesday thanked Saudi Arabia for “providing effective food support” to the Yemeni people through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief).
WFP and KSrelief signed a $40 million joint cooperation agreement on Monday to support food security to the most affected people in Yemen, who “are exposed to all kinds of suffering and deprivation,” said David Beasley, executive director of WFP.
Beasley added that the Kingdom’s donation, through KSrelief, “will undoubtedly help avert famine In Yemen, and will feed at least 2.2 million people.
In a press statement, Beasley expressed his happiness with the existing strategic partnership between the center and the WFP.
“We have a lot of work to do now and in the future, and this agreement will provide us with the tremendous support we need,” he said.
Beasley also said that the coronavirus pandemic has brought many tragedies and economic deterioration across the globe.
“This support will make a big difference because the pandemic has greatly affected vulnerable groups and exacerbated the problem of famine in the world and Yemen is one of the countries that suffers from the most difficult living conditions.”


Saudi Arabia announces 5 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 5 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 24 February 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 5 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 5 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 367,015
  • A total of 6,475 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced five deaths from COVID-19 and 353 new infections on Wednesday.
Of the new cases, 186 were recorded in Riyadh, 67 in the Eastern Province, 43 in Makkah, 10 in Madinah, nine in Asir, seven in Hail, three in Jazan and two in Najran.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 367,015 after 280 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 6,475 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.