Fahad Al-Rasheed, president of the Urban20 (U20) and the Royal Commission for Riyadh City (RCRC), said that the Riyadh Metro will be opened partially before the end of 2020. He said that the Saudi capital will attract massive investments worth SR3 trillion over the coming 10 years.
Al-Rasheed said in a television interview that Riyadh, with a population of seven million, is ranked 49th in terms of population among the cities of the world but it is ranked 18th economically among these cities. This is because of the fact that the capital city contributes to more than 47 percent of the Kingdom’s non-oil GDP, showing its magnificent economic size at the global level.
“The sky is the limit for our ambition in Riyadh, and we anticipate doubling of the city’s population to 15 million as well as doubling of the size of the economy with the implementation of more than 18 giant projects, including Riyadh Metro, Al-Diriyah, Qiddiya, Riyadh Art and Green Riyadh,” he said.
Al-Rasheed said that the state is investing SR1 trillion on these giant projects and another SR1 trillion in new housing units with the population doubling to 15 million. Subsequently, this necessitates tremendous growth of the private sector with investments worth another SR1trillion, raising the total amount of investment to SR3 trillion during the next ten years, he said, noting that this is a huge figure at the global level as it is taking place in a single city.
Al-Rasheed emphasized that despite the current circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, Riyadh has succeeded in forging a partnership with the City of Houston as it hosted the second U20 meeting of mayors’ representatives (Sherpas). The virtual Sherpa meeting was attended by representatives of 30 global cities in addition to that of 15 international institutions.
He underlined the importance of the meeting as it was the third of its kind globally and it aims to develop prosperous societies and the development of urban issues, depending on the nature of its implementation. “More than 16 working papers were presented during the meeting that included many ideas and solutions that will benefit many cities in the world, including Riyadh, in the future, at a time when cities are seeking to restore their normal life after containing the coronavirus pandemic.”
It is noteworthy that U20, one of the G20 engagement groups, chaired by Al-Shareef, is a powerful platform for city leaders to voice, collaborate, discuss and concur on crucial environmental, social and economic issues in the urban realm. More