- The program strives to place Saudi cities on the list of the best 100 cities in the world by upgrading services and infrastructure, improving the quality of life and providing attractive investment opportunities
- Direct expenditures of the Quality of Life Program 2020 initiatives stand at SAR74 billion
- Total direct government expenditure in the program is more than SAR50.9 billion
- Total private-sector investment in the program will exceed SAR23.7 billion by 2020
- Program promotes community sports and aims for excellence in several athletic fields worldwide
- Aims to diversify entertainment opportunities to meet the needs of the people, and to contribute to the arts and culture environment
- Comprehensive implementation plan and clear mechanisms to follow up the achievement of objectives and program indicators
RIYADH, May 3, 2018 – The Council of Economic and Development Affairs on Thursday announced the launch of the Quality of Life Program 2020, one of the initiatives that is meant to fulfill Vision Realization Programs 2030 approved by the Council of Ministers as a continuation of the initial operational programs instituted to achieve the goals of Vision 2030, as well as to strengthen the cultural and economic foundations of the Kingdom.
The Quality of Life Program 2020 reflects the vision of the government of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to foster the necessary environment for improving individual and family lifestyles. The Program is designed to promote new options for participation in cultural events as well as entertainment and sporting activities that contribute to the quality of life. The program also underlies creation of jobs, and investment opportunities, as well as diversified economic activities that will enhance the status of Saudi cities so that their international rankings rise in the most livable cities index.
The launch of the Quality of Life Program 2020 follows on the efforts of His Highness the Crown Prince and Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs to achieve the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. His Highness is keen to make the Kingdom’s economy more prosperous and Saudi society more vibrant.
The total expenditure in sectors related to the Quality of Life Program 2020 will, by 2020, reach SAR130 billion ($34.6 billion), of which SAR74.5 billion ($19.8 billion dollars) will constitute direct investment in the program. Government capital expenditure will surpass SAR50 billion ($13.3 billion) by 2020, and investments available to the private sector will amount to around SAR23.7 billion ($6.3 billion) for the same period, utilizing 220 initiatives adopted by the program. This does not include all forms of capital expenditure in major projects such as Qiddiya Project, the Red Sea Project, Al-Dariyah Gate Project, Historical Jeddah Project, Royal Commission for Al-Ola, and other projects, in addition to all related private sector projects, with total investments exceeding SAR86 billion ($23 billion).
The Quality of Life Program 2020 aims to achieve non-oil Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in related sectors by 20% per year until 2020. The contribution of local content in these sectors is targeted to increase by 67% until 2020. As a result of the program, more than 346,000 jobs will be created and non-oil revenues will reach SAR1.9 billion ($500 million).
Saudi Cities Among the Top 100 Cities in the World
The overarching goal of the Quality of Life Program 2020 is to see at least three Saudi cities included in the list of the world’s top 100 most livable cities by 2030. While the overall aspiration focuses on three cities in the Kingdom, the program covers all aspects of Saudi society and is dedicated to improving the lifestyle of citizens and residents all over the country.
Attractive Investment Opportunities
Quality of Life 2020 aspires to provide economic and investment opportunities for sustainable growth and development. Creative industries have proved to be key drivers of economic growth around the world. There are many opportunities for these sectors to thrive in the Kingdom; a number of funding models will be developed in order to stimulate the private sector to invest in both capital expenditures and operating expenses.
The program encourages the private sector and foreign investors to invest in many vital markets related to improving the quality of life. The main objective of the program is to increase the involvement of the private sector in the development of the strategy by improving participation in vital areas that require high capital expenditures, and the return on investment is initially low, encouraging private sector investment in the future.
In addition, the program provides all necessary (non-financial) components to reduce investment risks. This means removing all non-financial obstacles that limit private- sector participation in quality-of-life sectors, such as regulatory risks and legal frameworks. The program ensures that the regulatory and governance framework is updated and that laws are also updated to support investment in sectors related to the program’s scope.
The provision of incentives to compensate for gaps in profitability in some sectors was also taken into account as a means of stimulating private-sector participation. Additionally, ensuring effective and proactive management of private sector opportunities by identifying and linking investors and investment opportunities in all sectors will be pursued.
The program relies on basic pillars that support the improvement of infrastructure and lifestyle along with other enablers to reach the desired goals:
- Development of strong infrastructure in the Kingdom’s cities
- Provision of comprehensive services to the population to meet its needs
- Provision of a social framework that enables citizens and residents to interact
- Development of a comprehensive lifestyle infrastructure
- Provision of high quality and diverse lifestyle options. Motivation of people to interact through their participation in activities and events concerning lifestyle and society
- Determination of the regulatory framework required to enable quality of life in all categories.
- Establishment of funding mechanisms, including public-private partnership models, incentives for the private sector, and public investment to facilitate private sector participation
- Communication with all stakeholders (citizens, private sector, etc.) on the program’s progress.
Goals and Ambitions
The program ensures the implementation of its specific objectives in different regions of the Kingdom. The program has carefully evaluated the various regions to ensure an accurate allocation of projects. Taken into consideration are population, average household income, geography, climate, population preferences and necessary infrastructure.
Given the nature of the program, it will contribute to the wide range of goals and aspirations set out in Vision 2030. There have been 23 Quality of Life Program objectives identified, including four objectives directly related to the concept of lifestyle:
- Promotion of sporting activities
- Excellence in several sports regionally and globally.
- Development of diverse entertainment opportunities to meet the needs of the population.
- Enhancement of Saudi contribution to arts and culture.
Supporting Sports Activities
The Program uses educational institutions and sports clubs to promote sporting activities in the community and to facilitate access to various sports services. In addition to upgrading the infrastructure available for sporting activities, audience experience during sporting events will also be enhanced.
The Program aims to provide 491 suitable locations for practicing. It also aims to contribute to distinguishing Saudi sports globally, initially, by developing a number of elite athletes in the Kingdom and preparing them to qualify to represent the Kingdom in the Olympic Games.
In the context of school athletics, the program promotes the participation of girls, aiming for 325,000 girls participating in physical education classes, qualifying 7,500 teachers and preparing 1,500 schools with gymnasiums.
Different Entertainment Options
The Program contributes to the development and diversification of entertainment opportunities in the Kingdom to suit all social segments in the different regions. To achieve this goal, the program encourages the private sector and foreign investors to play a major role in the development of entertainment facilities. The program seeks to create a water park, three theme parks and 16 family entertainment centers by 2020.
Development of Contribution to Arts and Culture
The program also promotes the Kingdom’s contribution to arts and culture through the elevation and development of seven cultural and artistic fields (visual arts, performing arts, filmmaking, poetry, literature, design and national heritage). By refining the talents of both established and up-and- coming Saudi artists, the Kingdom’s presence on the international arts and culture stage will be greatly enhanced. The program includes plans for the creation of an island for arts and culture in Jeddah, the opening of 45 cinemas, 16 theaters, 42 libraries, and the Royal Arts Complex in Riyadh by 2020 to promote the arts and culture sector in Kingdom.
Realizing the Vision 2030
The objectives of the Quality of Life Program 2020 are directly related to the realization of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and are meant to influence several indicators described in Vision 2030. There are many indicators for the program, including level of practicing sports, sports excellence, sports revenues, the capacity of entertainment events, the Kingdom’s contribution to arts and culture, entertainment and culture revenues, in addition to the creation of economic sectors linked to entertainment, culture and sport, and an indicator of the level of preparedness of the infrastructure related to these sectors. Vision 2030 indicators, which are aligned with the program goals, relate to employment sustainability in the private sector, an increase of GDP, contribution to local content and the increase of nongovernmental investment.
Enabling Oversight of Implementation and Effective Follow-up
The Council of Economic and Development Affairs is monitoring the implementation of the Quality of Life Program 2020. The monitoring is in line with approved governance for measuring achievements. A number of specialized agencies have been established at the governmental level, e.g., The National Center for Performance Measurement, the Strategic Management Office, the Bureau of Spending Rationalization, the Non-Oil Revenue Development Unit, and the Local Content and Private Sector Development Unit. All aim to formulate strategies and set goals, create programs, monitor achievements, and manage projects. This contributes to the development and economic decision-making process through close liaison among all ministries concerned with economic, financial, social and development issues. Recently, the Board has approved the strategic objectives of Vision 2030 to establish measurable frameworks, benchmarks, and to follow the progress of plans and operational programs continuously and effectively.
A clear accountability mechanism has been defined, along with program follow-up and direct/ indirect strategic objectives.