The King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) has a new success to announce: the integrated industrial, residential and tourism hub has achieved five years of profitability.
“We are profitable for the last five years and we are today at the highest cash position that we’ve ever been,” said Fahd Al Rasheed, KAEC’s chief developer. To date, the city has seen upwards of $10 billion in investments. The economic city will need roughly $100 billion to achieve its development goals.
The man-made, sprawling economic city reflects Saudi Arabia’s ambitious commitment to diversifying its nation by spurring private sector growth—helping the Kingdom climb the ladder as one of the world’s most competitive investment destinations. KAEC, located north of Jeddah and just off the Red Sea, is slated to be larger than Washington, D.C.
Five years of profitability goes a long way for a Kingdom intent on encouraging economic diversification as it seeks to lessen its reliance on oil. Once complete, KAEC will house an industrial and financial center, beach facilities and residential complexes.
Some fast facts about Saudi Arabia’s mega-city:
- KAEC has signed contracts with more than 120 companies, including Renault, Sanofi and Total. The publicly traded company Emaar Economic City oversees the development and management of the KAEC.
- KAEC sits just off the King Abdullah Port, allowing a streamlined flow of inbound and outbound trade. The port is expected to handle approximately 1.8 million containers by year-end, with the number expected to increase by 2017.
- With residential complexes abound, the KAEC expects to welcome 10,000 residents by the end of 2016, and more than 40,000 by 2020.
- The KAEC is not a siloed operation; a high-speed rail line, set to launch in 2017, will connect the city with Saudi Arabia’s second largest city, Jeddah, in addition to the Kingdom’s holy sites of Mecca and Medina. “[This] will give us access to 12 million residents in the western region within one hour,” Rasheed said.
- Fun and games—among other tourist-geared attractions—are a part of the mix. Expect to see golf courses, theme parks, zoos and safaris. These additions will bolster the Kingdom’s ambitious goal: welcoming 150,000 visitors by the end of 2016 and 1.5 million by 2020.
Read more at Gulf News.