Saturday 21 March 2015

Saudi Arabia's new $100 billion desert city

Covering 70 square miles, the metropolis costs £67 billion ($100 billion) and will reinvigorate the country
Master Plan of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC)

The Saudi government says it will build a brand-new city on its western coast the size of Washington, DC — at a cost of about $100 billion. It's not imaginatively named — it's known as the King Abdullah Economic City, pronouned "cake" (KAEC) for short — but Saudi rulers hope it will become a powerful new economic engine for the kingdom.
View of buildings under construction
When completed, KAEC will be larger than Washington DC

Only 15 per cent has been developed, as public facilities and residential areas are still under construction
Only 15% of KAEC has been developed
By building a major new container port on the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia hopes to create a new Silk Road, a trade route to Mediterranean countries and southern Europe. For now, with only 10 percent of the city built, it looks more like a movie set.
KAEC is one of four new cities being built to diversify an economy that is overly dependent on oil. 

Already it has its own website showing plans, maps and including details on how to invest.
At 70 sq miles KAEC will eventually be a metropolis slightly larger than Washington DC and at a cost of $100bn (£67bn), mostly from private funding, the King Abdullah Economic City is second to none in the grandeur of its vision.
KAEC has its own website showing plans for the city, including details on how to invest in its growth
A port smart city under construction
"We aim to create one of the world's largest ports," says Rayan Bukhari, a young manager at the King Abdullah port. We're not competing with Jeddah's Islamic port - but we are going to take business away from Jebel Ali in Dubai. That's because of our quicker, more automated offloading and customs procedure."
View of a canal surrounded by buildings
According to Mr Bukhari, King Abdullah was determined to involve the private sector in the economic development of the country; casting aside tribal and regional rivalries in the interests of creating a modern business economy.
View of the Haramain railway station being built
Haramain Railway station will connect KAEC and Mecca

Speed is integral to KAEC's vision for future. With Mecca and Medina on the high speed train network that links KAEC with the two holy cities, well-heeled Umrah (pilgrimage to Mecca) pilgrims are expected to visit the city as they travel from the place where the Prophet was born to the place where he is buried.
The project is largely privately funded and the government has set up an Economic Cities Authority overseeing the four megacities able to deal swiftly with every licence, construction permit and approval needed.

Virtual Tour of KAEC

KAEC's official website -
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