Riyadh, the Saudi capital, is set on a trajectory to become a key global player, with a master plan to join the ranks of the world’s top 10 economies by 2030. The city aims to double in size, growing its population from the current 7.5 million to an astounding 15 million.
Key Investment Initiatives
The ambitious goal hinges on substantial investments in infrastructure, with authorities indicating a willingness to inject around a trillion dollars into the city prior to 2030. Highlights include the creation of the world’s largest downtown area by the New Square Development Company and the development of King Salman International Airport, slated to become the globe’s largest in terms of passenger capacity.
In a significant international move, a Saudi delegation headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recently presented Riyadh’s bid to host Expo 2030, showcasing a $7.8 billion blueprint for the Expo site. This step aligns with the city’s intention to rank among the world’s top cities, each boasting populations of 15-20 million.
Economic Vision and Strengths
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has championed Riyadh’s objective to become a leading city economy by 2030, envisaging a growth in population from 7.5 million to between 15 and 20 million. He cited the global trend where cities account for 85% of the worldwide economy—a figure he predicts will climb to 95% in the coming years.
Riyadh’s positioning for this ambitious growth is fortified by its contribution to around 50% of Saudi Arabia’s non-oil economy. Competitive advantages in the city include job creation costs that are 30% lower and infrastructure and real estate development costs that are 29% less than other cities in the kingdom.
Executing these grand visions calls for massive capital investment. Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih disclosed the allocation of a trillion dollars specifically for Riyadh’s development. As part of Saudi Vision 2030, national investments exceeding $3.3 trillion are targeted by the end of the decade, with no less than 30% earmarked for Riyadh.
Currently, the city is experiencing a boom in construction, evidenced by $12.2 billion in contracts awarded in 2022 alone. Future prospects include around $9 billion in contracts under evaluation and another $9 billion in the bidding phase. Additionally, $110 billion worth of projects are in the design stage, with $60 billion under consideration.
Among the expansive future projects are the world’s largest modern downtown, encompassing 19 square kilometers, and the King Salman International Airport. Also, undisclosed plans hint at the construction of a kilometer-high tower to the north of Riyadh, double the height of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
The pledge by Riyadh to invest $1 trillion represents a bold step toward transforming the city into a global economic powerhouse. With massive construction plans and ambitious growth targets, Riyadh stands poised to redefine its position on the world stage, aligning with broader Saudi objectives and setting a precedent for city-driven economic leadership.