Jun. 5, 2018

His Royal Highness Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Saudi Arabia

His Royal Highness Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Governor, Riyadh

“Riyadh’s strategic location at the heart of Saudi Arabia offers it considerable advantage and access to markets across MENA, Europe, and rapidly developing Africa and Asia.”


HRH Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is the Governor of the Riyadh Region and Chairman of the High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh. After obtaining a degree in management from King Saud University in 1969, he held positions in the Defense and Aviation Ministry and the Post, Telegraphs, and Telephones Ministry. From 1992-2015, he was Governor of Al- Qassim Province. In 2015, he was named Governor of Riyadh Province.

What are Riyadh's most significant assets as it seeks to become a global economic center?

Riyadh is the vibrant capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is the largest economy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Riyadh's strategic location at the heart of Saudi Arabia offers it considerable advantage and access to markets across MENA, Europe, and rapidly developing Africa and Asia. Riyadh today has a population of 6.5 million people. Most are young people, with 35% of the total aged under 15 years. Our new generation are among the most educated and technologically savvy people in the region. Riyadh has a vision to be among the best 100 cities in the world by 2030. The vision is ongoing through many planning and strategic initiatives across all sectors. This includes an ambitious strategy for the redevelopment of the historic core of the city (1,500ha) in partnership with the Kingdom's Public Investment Fund (PIF). Furthermore, we are developing major parks and environmental projects such as the prize-winning Wadi Hanifah restoration and the restoration of Historic Addiriyah—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—that will help make Riyadh a liveable city that celebrates its rich heritage and history as it confidently projects itself onto the world stage. To enhance our infrastructure, we are working on the King Abdulaziz Public Transport Project, which involves a 176-km metro system with six lines and 85 stations supported by an extensive new bus network. King Khalid International Airport is renewed and expanded, where the new domestic terminal is already in operation and terminals 3 and 4 are being refurbished and upgraded. To link Riyadh with the region and nation, we launched new national railway projects with Riyadh as the hub. This includes the new Saudi Land Bridge project that will provide a rail link between Jeddah and Riyadh and onward to the Arabian Gulf coast using the existing freight and passenger railway lines. Recently, we inaugurated the 2,750-km railroad linking the capital to Majma'a, Qassim, Hail, Aljawf, and Qurayyat. Riyadh is the headquarter of the country's commercial banks, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), and PIF. PIF, with assets approaching USD300 billion, is undergoing rapid growth and seeking to make bigger investments both at home and abroad. It is focusing on projects linked to the ambitious Saudi Vision 2030 economic transformation plan. Riyadh encompasses King Abdullah Financial Centre, which will house the headquarters of CMA; financial corporations and banks; offices of legal accountants, lawyers and financial advisory services; as well as the Classification Authorities and providers of technological services. Also, the capital academy for financial specializations and courses will be established here. Riyadh is also being transformed under an ambitious project to build digital connectivity with ITC infrastructure, creating Smart Riyadh. We are now a technology cluster, with leading institutes specialising in nanotechnology and energy—including nuclear and renewable energy—as well as the Riyadh Techno-Valley project and the Information and Telecommunications Technology Complex (IITC). There are two industrial cities in Riyadh and a third under construction, with outlying industrial cities being developed elsewhere in Riyadh Province. Education and health services are leading parts of Riyadh's assets, where excellent services are available for the city's population and for visitors, making Riyadh a hub for such services in the region. A key goal of Vision 2030 for the Kingdom is creating private sector jobs and reducing the economy's dependency on oil through diversification. Riyadh's sophisticated and modern infrastructure, available investment capital, strategic location, and human resources propel investment and industrial growth in these new directions. However, Riyadh's major asset remains its people: well-educated, well-traveled internationally, welcoming, family-oriented, and willing to accept and embrace change and modernization in all aspects of life.

How do you envision the future of Riyadh city?

The core elements that make up the aspirations and 21st century vision for Riyadh are that it is a contemporary oasis in harmony with its desert environment and a city of prosperity by nature of its competitive advantages and through attracting domestic and foreign investment. The vision is also for Riyadh to be a global centre of innovation in scientific research and development and a leader in energy, desert environment technologies, health sciences, and education. A driving principle of Riyadh's vision is to “achieve sustainability in the future planning of the city within Islamic principles,” which include the obligation of citizens to help create a city not just for its current citizens also for its future generations. The Metropolitan Development Strategy for Arriyadh (MEDSTAR) provides the necessary strategic framework for this to happen. Riyadh's bold aspirations align with Saudi Vision 2030 for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its capital Riyadh to be “the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds, an investment powerhouse, and a hub connecting three continents”—a vision built upon themes of a vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation. The High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh drives the development of the city with a clear vision and sound and practical strategies, programs, and projects. In 2018, MEDSTAR II will update the city's strategic plan to adapt to economic, social, and environmental changes occurring all around us, locally and globally, and to provide a creative new vision for the city over the next 30 years. With major land and urban transportation projects, we also envision Riyadh and the wider region becoming a centre of excellence in many economic sectors such as tourism, entertainment, ITC, financial services, health and education, and renewable energy technologies. Stimulated by Vision 2030 and with the benefit of comprehensive urban development strategies and a clear vision for the growth of the capital, Riyadh and Riyadh Region are set to continue to grow and diversify as a prosperous, world-class metropolis with a leading role in the Middle East.