Comprehensive plan to check urban migration
The Saudi government plans to limit migration to the country’s cities and the growth of informal urban settlements by developing its rural areas.
The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs intends to conduct a comprehensive survey to determine where developments should take place, according to sources.
The ministry has allocated a budget for the project. Its main goals are to limit the random growth of cities and address the obstacles facing developmental processes in rural and urban areas, the sources said.
The ministry will conduct a detailed study of villages that are economically viable and develop their tourism and agricultural sectors. The government will also provide essential services and basic infrastructure in identified regions, taking future population growth into account.
Mansour bin Miteb, the minister, said earlier that the government has national strategic plans in place to determine the size of cities and villages.
The minister said the government wants to ensure that citizens have all the facilities they need in their villages.
The ministry is currently struggling to address the economic and social problems arising from informal settlements, he said.
The ministry is developing its plans in cooperation with other agencies and ministries, which would include prioritizing projects and determining ideal locations and time frames.
A ministry projection has forecast that 88 percent of the Kingdom’s inhabitants will live in urban areas by 2025, which could consequently have an adverse effect on urban, social and economic development, according to reports.
Demographic distribution in Saudi Arabia is concentrated in Riyadh, the Western Province and the Eastern Province because they are commercial hubs and businesses tend to proliferate in urban areas.
The alarming figures have prompted several government organizations led by the ministry to launch a National Urban Strategy, which is tasked with analyzing and detailing the demographic situation in the Kingdom, forecast to increase from 29.8 million to 39 million by 2020.
The strategy also includes a 20-year national plan to resolve the demographic distribution problem.