Saudi industrial city to speed up construction
With state finances under pressure from low oil prices, Saudi is looking to develop alternative sectors to boost exports, create jobs and provide new revenues
The developer of one of Saudi Arabia's largest inudstrial city projects says it will speed up construction of infrastructure and broaden the range of industries it accommodates.
With state finances under heavy pressure from low oil prices, Saudi Arabia is looking to develop alternative sectors to boost exports, create jobs and provide new revenues.
King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) is part of the effort.
The state-backed business zone on the Red Sea cost near Jeddah is being developed by Emaar the Economic City (EEC) - a publicly listed firm.
Construction of infrastructure in the zone, including housing, commercial space, hotels and raods is expected to accelerate, according to Fahd Al Rasheed, group chief executive of both EEC and KAEC.
While 40 such projects have been developed since the government-backed zone was launched in 2005, 170 are planned for the next 10 years, he added.
Progress in some projects will depend on the rate at which the zone can attract new corporate tenants, as well as the strength of the Saudi economy.
Emphasis on rapid expansion is typical of the mood among Saudi economic policy makers as a powerful new committee led by the King's son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, tries to restructure the economy.
"What used to take two years now takes two months. What took two weeks can take a day," Rasheed said.