Riyadh approves $74bn development plan

Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Development Authority (RDA) approved a SAR278bn ($74bn) plan that will see the more than 3,000 projects in the capital city.

The plan which will overhaul Riyadh includes development of housing projects in the city centre, and the central region of the kingdom will have three main railway lines, Arab News reported, citing Ibrahim Al-Sultan, a member of the RDA and head of the authority’s centre that oversees planning.

More than 60 agencies have been authorized to follow up on the implementation of these projects.

Four consortiums of 33 companies include France’s Vinci and Alstom, Italy’s Ansaldo, Canada’s Bombardier, Germany’s Siemens and Switzerland’s Stadler Bussnang are bidding to build a metro network in Riyadh.

Six lines of electric rail, totalling 175 km, are planned across Riyadh to serve the airport and the King Abdullah Financial District currently under construction.

Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the Arab world and biggest producer of oil globally, is spending more than $500bn to expand its infrastructure.

An expected budget surplus in 2013 and the government drawing down its foreign assets, which stood at around $634.8bn at the end of November 2012, will help finance its expenditure plans in the event of any shortfall in revenues, Jadwa Investment said in a report last month.

Construction is forecast to be the fastest growing sector in 2013, according to Jadwa.