Saudi Arabia Ranked 13th Easiest Place to do Business in the World
The World Bank recently released a report which ranked Saudi Arabia as the 13th easiest place to do business in the world. This means that the Kingdom is the highest rated country in the Middle East and the Arab world for the fifth year in a row. The news will be welcomed by the government and investors alike, as the country released its most recent five year plan at the beginning of this year. The plan outlines US $385 billion of anticipated spending in the Kingdom between 2010 - 2014. While a large portion of the budget is dedicated to manpower development (human resources and employment initiatives), other important areas of the country's infrastructure will benefit from the plan.
Over 15% of the budget has been dedicated to transport, telecommunications, municipal services and construction. Saudi Arabia's drive to improve its transportation infrastructure is evident as seen in the US$ 6.4 billion dedicated to the sector in the 2010 budget alone. Urban transportation is of particular importance to the various municipalities and government authorities and the key issues related to this sector in Saudi Arabia will be discussed at the Saudi Urban Transportation Forum 2011 in January next year (http://www.saudiurbantransportation.com)
Already the country's first metro is operational and almost complete in Makkah after opening earlier this year. More metro and light rail projects have already been proposed for Riyadh, Jeddah and the King Abdullah Financial District to complement the strategic plans of the Ministry of Municipalities and Rural Affairs and the Arriyadh and Jeddah Development Authorities.
The huge economic city developments will also require extensive transportation networks both locally and internationally. Hundreds of kilometres of roads, as well as inner city road and public transportation networks for the cities themselves will be necessary to deliver those ambitious projects.