The City of Jubail on the Arabian Gulf in the Eastern Province, where a Second Industrial City is scheduled for construction, has been commended for its economic potential by the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) magazine published by the Financial Times. The assessment was made by a selection committee studying about 40 economic centers in the Middle East region.
One factor that was taken into consideration was the steadiness of the growth rate of Jubail’s private sector contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), remaining at just under four percent annually for the past decade. Governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) Amr Abdullah Al-Dabbagh commented that this indicates “an underlying stability in the economy with heavy anticipated growth because of the private sector's continued expansion”. Other factors include awareness of the environment and responsibility towards the community, as well as amendments to the Kingdom's legislation designed to enhance investment, such as allowing foreigners to fully own projects and real estate, and to repatriate capital as well as profits.
Jubail, renowned as the location of the largest petrochemical complex in the world, is estimated to account for about seven percent of the global market in petrochemicals. The city has enjoyed vast foreign investment of over U.S. $46 billion, currently about half of the total foreign investment flowing into the Kingdom, and a figure that is expected to increase.
Under way is a project for the construction of a Second Jubail Industrial City near the first, creating 55,000 jobs. About 30 new plants are being built; over 40 more are at the planning stage. Meanwhile, the expansion of the country’s railway system to connect Riyadh with Jeddah and with the northern area that is rich in minerals, plus an extension of the rail line from Dammam to Jubail, will give Jubail even greater strategic importance.