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“Town planning” is an expansive and ambiguous phrase however; it is successful only when applying details and clarifying the difference between theory and hard work.

Recently the Saudi capital Riyadh witnessed a series of important news announcements for the future. It was announced that the Al-Diriya [historic] city would return to being a national and cultural site and tourist destination after some of its buildings and sites had been restored and repaired.

After this, another new business development and investment site was announced named the Wadi al-Riyadh for Technology in a genuine attempt to attract major investment to the new digital economy and provide an intelligent infrastructure necessary for this.

This was followed by the announcement of the revitalization and opening of the Wadi Hanifa valley. This was restored in a manner that maintains the location’s historical identity while at the same time serving as a beautiful park to the residents and visitors of Riyadh, representing an exciting blend between the past and the present.

Not much time passed when the Sudair Industrial and Business City project was announced near Riyadh. The city is fully equipped and contains all the appropriate facilities needed by the business sector and industrial investors.

All of these large and important projects were personally supervised by Governor of Riyadh Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz who single-handedly was able to re-write the local administrative laws in Saudi cities and governorates to the point that phrases like “You wouldn’t see that in Riyadh” were on everybody’s lips.

As a result of this administrative “impetus” Riyadh’s news is not just circulating throughout the country, but rather the capital has become the measuring stick by which Saudi Arabia’s development is judged. Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz is currently visiting India; this visit is not due to protocol or public relations but rather in order to build on the successful [previous] visit carried out by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz to India, as well as the Indian Prime Minister’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia. With this visit Prince Salman is seeking to stress the importance of the “new and developing” Saudi – Indian relationship, which now includes many features that were previously absent.

The exchange of information and expertise between the two countries is now possible, and the Saudi Arabians can offer their expertise in the fields of petrochemicals, oil, gas, water desalinization, and construction, while the Indians can offer help in the fields of medicine, technology, pharmacology, and education. I am a member of the Saudi Arabian – Indian Business Council, and Saudi – Indian cooperation is something that can be seen in a number of fields. There can be no better evidence of this than Saudi Arabia accepting the role of mediator in the thorny issue of Kashmir between Pakistan and India.

The news coming from the Saudi capital these days is promising, and stresses the results of good planning and strategic vision. If this is studied further and reproduced in other fields, there will be even greater achievements.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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