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Employment Creation is Main Priority in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia : 30 January 2011

The current five-year plan for development in Riyadh is aiming to reduce unemployment from the 2009 rate of 9.6 percent to hit 5.5 percent by 2014.

The ninth of its kind, Saudi Arabia’s five-year development plan unveiled in August of last year has Dh 1.37 trillion (or 1.4 trillion riyals) allocated. The goal is to reach GDP growth of 5.2 percent annually from now until 2014, as well as a reduction in the jobless rate to 5.5 percent by 2014, down from the 2009 rate of 9.6 percent.

The Central Department of Statistics quoted unemployment at 10.5 percent for 2009. The rate was placed closer to 9.5 percent for 2010 by independent estimates.

Also, the average rate of joblessness in the decade from 1999 to 2009 was above 10 percent.

The estimates of analysts quote a 14 percent growth in newly graduated university students from 2009 to 2013, stating that solutions are needed for job creation aimed at the youth of Saudi Arabia.

SAGIA (Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority) is now in charge of foreign investment promotion and the creation of more job opportunities for the next generation of Saudis.

SAGIA’s initial project for job creation involves the enormous economic cities. Based on SAGIA statistics, construction of these cities have resulted in 7.5 million new positions with the potential for 1.6 million more by 2020.

Four out of the six cities are marked for job creation, including the KAEC (or King Abdullah Economic City), which is just north of Jeddah in Rabigh with the expectation of nearly 1 million job vacancies in Jeddah area being created.

Projections for the Hail economic city of Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Musaid include 55,000 new jobs.

In Madinah, the Knowledge Economic City should present 20,000 new employment positions, while the Jazan Economic City in the south of Saudi Arabia should see 500,000 jobs created.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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