JEDDAH: Riyadh is aiming to reshape the retail environment in the region, as will become evident by the many mega projects that will be launched over the next few years as part of the Kingdom’s ambitious plan to nearly double the size of the capital.
During the Future Investment Initiative, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled plans to attract hundreds of international companies to set up their regional bases in the city, create about 35,000 new jobs for Saudi locals and double its population.
“That positions Riyadh as a global city that is open for business and that was an open invitation as well for all the investors to come and be a part of this massive journey that we are going to go through over the next ten years,” Hosam Al-Qurashi, senior advisor to the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, said during an online session at the Retail Leaders Circle MENA event on Monday.
“It’s important to note that the Kingdom is a young and progressive nation that started the transformation a few years back, and we are in a hub connecting three continents and we are definitely pursuing massive growth in the contribution of our non-oil based economy to the overall GDP,” he said.
The megacity projects the Kingdom plans to launch will accelerate the renaissance of the city to become a top international destination for tourism. “Projecting forward to 2030, our plan is to attract 30 million visitors annually — that’s a lot of traffic for retail — the city’s economy will double in just ten years, a very important consideration for retail chains and how much they want to grow within their footprint and within a city that carries more than 15 million residents . . . We plan to attract $80 billion through the city’s government-backed projects of FDIs,” Al-Qurashi said.
One of the projects highlighted by Al-Qurashi is Riyadh Art, which aims to turn the city into a gallery without walls. “We’re talking about 1,000 art pieces ranging from art pieces at the entrance of the city the size of a mountain, to small pieces in public spaces. The objective is to beautify the city and create what is called a creative economy.”