Housing is an essential part of any healthy economy, and Saudi Arabia’s economy is no exception.
The Kingdom has been grabbing headlines over the past year ever since it announced its ambitious “Vision 2030”, which aims to diversify its economy away from dependence on oil. A key part of this plan is to take active steps towards providing affordable housing for Saudi citizens.
One of those steps were taken yesterday when the Saudi Minister of Housing, Majed Al-Hogail, met with U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson.
Both men face demanding housing issues in their respective countries, with Carson’s department aiming to fight poverty by providing housing to families in need, and Al-Hogail focusing on addressing a housing shortage amongst the Kingdom’s population. Discussions in the meeting revolved primarily on partnerships that will confront housing challenges on both sides of the Atlantic.
Such partnerships would include an enhanced exchange of experiences, information and knowledge related to housing and its management, developing and exchanging modern technologies in construction and related industries, and encouraging companies in both countries to participate in the housing projects provided by each party.
In fact, a source within Saudi circles of influence, who spoke on condition of anonymity, asserted that U.S.-Saudi housing partnerships will be worth up to $100 billion. Even if half of that amount was injected into the U.S. economy, that would still amount to over 550,000 jobs.
In the meeting, Al-Hogail expressed that “such partnerships contribute to benefiting from the experiences and success of some countries in the housing sector, and then using that knowledge to implement what is appropriate to the local environment”. He pointed out that the ministry is keen on seeking partnerships with countries that have a proven and successful track record in the housing sector.
Salman Al Ansari, President of The Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC), pointed out “It is clear that Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman considers the U.S. as the main partner in helping to achieve Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030”.
In a statement to the press, Al-Hogail also revealed that the Saudi Ministry of Housing has already started seeking partnerships with other countries, such as China and South Korea, with the aim of providing thousands of residential units across various regions of the Kingdom.
Lastly, Al-Hogail underlined the importance of collaborating with the private sector in order to foster competition amongst real estate developers. He believes that such competition will encourage the provision of housing units at the highest quality standards, consequently taking positive steps towards one of the many strategic objectives that Saudi’s Vision 2030 aims to achieve.
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Harvard-educated, Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a businessman, a world-renowned and leading Iranian-American political scientist, president of the International American Council on the Middle East, and best-selling author. He serves on the advisory board of Harvard International Review.
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