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MENA Development Partners

MENA Development Partners LLC

Developing successful business relationships in the Middle East.

**NEW - Collaborative research project on fracking.**

Doing Business in the Middle East


Saudi Arabia's Economic Cities Continued

Posted on April 12, 2013 at 9:36 PM Comments comments (52)

All of Saudi's new Economic Cities are being built with strong environmental specifications. One of the key ideas around building these cities is to create private sector opportunities (via jobs, new businesses, new ways of living as well as private investment opportunities.

King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) is divided into six main components:
  • the industrial zone (including mfg., R&D, business services, hospitality, etc.)
  • the seaport, which will be the largest in the region
  • the residential area for 500,000 people
  • the sea resort, expected to be a major tourist destination
  • the educational zone (including several universities with R&D facilities)
  • the central business district

KAEC is the only one of the new cities that does not center around a specific industry. It is in an ideal for diverse commerce because of its location on the coast of the Red Sea.

In Hail, you will find Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Mousaed Economic City. The goal& planning is is to have a population of over 80,000 people. The intent is to be the hub of transportation routes in the Middle East through:
  • transportation,
  • logistics,
  • petrochemicals,
  • agribusiness,
  • minerals and construction materials.

Near the holy mosque of the Prophet, in Medinah is the Knowledge Economic City. Interesting, particularly given its proximity to the holy mosque, this city is planned around Islamic themes, Islamic civilization studies and eventually a theme-park based around the Prophet and Islam. Medinah will also have science, health & medical, technical and other colleges. This Economic City should have a population of around 200,000. (With that kind of population & the tourist and holy attractions, hotels and retail are also being planned.)
On the Red Seat in the southwestern part of the kingdom will be the largest of the new Economic cities, Jazan. Jazan's industry will be the more labor-centric, focusing on things like energy, agriculture, commercial fishing (both packaging and distribution). And of course, in Jazan, given their location on the Red Sea, there will include (my favorite), water desalination plants and power distribution centers. 

These are all very aggressive initiatives. It takes significant and long-term commitment to growth (both through population and economic) and innovation by both the government and the private sector. These initiatives could not happen in a country that did not have serious money to invest in the infrastructure and development of these cities. We need to applaud the progress in the Kingdom and hopefully when we come out of the economic toilet in the US & Europe, we too will be able to take-on such aggressive projects to also see cities of the future.

Solar Power in Saudi Arabia

Posted on April 8, 2013 at 12:36 AM Comments comments (441)
While much of my excitement has centered around Water Desalination in Saudi Arabia in particular, I must admit, I am now equally excited about Solar Power in the Kingdom.

When you think about it, besides sand, salt water & oil, what other natural resources exists in abundance in both Saudi Arabia and the Middle Eastern region...SUNSHINE!
As we move into "Next Generation Saudi Arabia" (maybe it could be KSA 2.0??), the focus really needs to turn away from oil. This won't be easy to do as it has been what defined who they were as a global economic force. But to be KSA 2.0, it is going to take a total shift in thinking, in branding and in acknowledging who they will be as a powerhouse going forward. It won't be oil that defines who they are much longer.

In 2011, over 50% of electricity was produced by burning oil (not particularly a good use of the scare resource!!). Ka-care  is the Saudi agency in charge of developing the nations renewable energy sector. They announced in May 2012 that the nation would install 41 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2032. It is projected to be composed of 25 gigawatts of solar thermal, and 16 gigawatts of photovoltaics. At the time of this announcement, Saudi Arabia had only 0.003 gigawatts of installed solar energy capacity.

So given the Kingdom's commitment to solar power & the incredible innovation that has been going on across the globe (particularly in Texas, if I may so say myself!). Let's find a way to bring these two entities together to make a difference in energy production going forward! If you think about our resources, water - limited, oil - limited, metals - limited (you get what I mean without getting too much into Biotic & Abiotic definitions & meanings)... but what we have in abundance and in unlimited quantities - SUNSHINE. (I would also classify wind-power here but I am still not convinced that wind power is much of an option. This is completely my own personal opinion, but wind power is very expensive to produce and at this moment in time, the companies with the most money to invest in wind power are the oil & gas companies and for them to keep investing heavily in wind power, it will require oil costs still being high. Again, just my personal opinion...)