Saudi to develop rural areas in bid to limit city over-crowding

The kingdom’s population is expected to rise from 29.8 million people to 39 million by 2020.

Photo for illustrative purpose only (Getty Images)

Photo for illustrative purpose only (Getty Images)

Saudi has flagged plans to limit migration to the country’s cities and the growth of informal urban settlements by developing its rural areas, it was reported.

The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs said it intended to conduct a comprehensive survey to determine where developments should take place, according to sources quoted by Arab News.

A ministry projection has forecast that 88 percent of the kingdom’s population would live in urban areas by 2025, with the overall population expected to rise from 29.8 million people to 39 million by 2020.

The sources said the ministry’s main goals, they said, were to limit the random growth of cities and address the obstacles facing developmental processes in rural and urban areas.

The ministry said it would conduct a detailed study of villages that were economically viable and develop their tourism and agricultural sectors, while the government would also provide essential services and basic infrastructure in identified regions, taking future population growth into account.

Municipal and Rural Affairs Minister Mansour bin Miteb said earlier that that government had a national strategic plans in place to determine the size of cities and villages.

Demographic distribution in Saudi Arabia is concentrated in Riyadh, the Western Province and the Eastern Province because they were commercial hubs.

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