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Last Updated: Monday, 6 November 2006, 15:54 GMT
Saudi plans $30bn 'economic city'
Shoppers in a Riyadh market
Saudi Arabia is trying to diversify its economy
Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans to build an $30bn (15.8bn) "economic city" in the impoverished Jizan region in the south of the country.

The city - 117 sq km in size - will feature a port, an aluminium smelter, a steel processing plant and a commercial business area as well as housing.

Revenue from oil will be partly used to fund the scheme - which is designed to reinvigorate the economy in the area.

A Malaysian conglomerate has won a tender to build much of the city.

MMC Group will work with the Saudi Binladin Group to develop and manage the site, 725km south of Jeddah on the Red Sea.

Diversify

During a visit to the area, King Abdullah said the project would create 500,000 jobs.

Some of the financing has been raised through a flotation of the scheme - with about 10 million subscribers buying more than $2bn worth of shares.

Other activities planned include a copper processing plant and the development of a fisheries industry.

It will be the fourth such economic city planned for Saudi Arabia as the country looks to diversify its economy and provide employment.




SEE ALSO
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