RIYADH: Buoyed by the Public Investment Fund’s stake buy last year, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Economic City is raring to integrate itself into Vision 2030 with its “ready-made infrastructure.”
In an exclusive interview with Arab News, KAEC CEO Cyril Piaia said that the incoming shareholding of the PIF is a major change and benefit for the city, as they are receiving the right support from the government.
“We get their attention from the ecosystem, and this is totally in connection with Vision 2030. So for us, it's enabling us to be integrated into this ecosystem and benefit from those initiatives, the city needs to be activated,” he told Arab News.
According to him, the key advantage and value proposition that the city has to give to the market is that KAEC has ready-made infrastructure.
“We have world-class infrastructure. We can welcome initiatives from Vision 2030 directly into the city and connect them to our infrastructure.”
He added that it is an enabler for the city to develop as well. “We are opening up the city, the doors of the city to third-party developers, investors, and operators,” Piaia said.
The KAEC CEO explained that in the past the city had good infrastructure that was not activated, saying: “There were a lot of things to develop, a lot of things to bring life, to bring activity and business into the city.”
“Right now, with the fact that we are adding the support of PIF, we are connecting with all the vision’s realization program, and we have them rolling over their initiative into the city,” the CEO said, adding that they are benefiting a lot from this new shareholding and “this is actually the future of the city as well.”
The new strategy that has been recently announced by the Crown Prince around the industrial field perfectly fits their targets to develop their industry in connection with King Abdullah port.
“We recently signed with Lucid as core investors into the industrial valley and that's basically what we aim to do is to really integrate ourselves into the initiative of the Kingdom,” he said.
Piaia said that Vision 2030 is a big challenge but provides such momentum that they are willing to benefit.
Talking about KAEC’s partnership with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, he explained that there are two types of infrastructure; the basic infrastructure, and the primary infrastructure, which are water, electricity, and roads.
“All these are still required, and it still needs to be provided by King Abdullah Economic City. And the status of our infrastructure is top standards. We have more than 500 kilometers of road into the city and we have all the facilities around that,” he said.
Piaia revealed they are going into digital innovation as they recently signed a partnership agreement with King Abdullah University, which is their neighbor and stakeholder. “The aim of this partnership is actually to go to the two sides; we want to develop high tech and innovation in connection with them. They do have, for example, incubators of startups that are very much into innovation,” he said.