Arab News, Thursday, Mar 16, 2023 | Sha'ban 24, 1444
King Abdullah Financial District inks 3 MoUs during PIF Private Sector Forum, CEO reveals
King Abdullah Financial District has signed Memorandums of Understanding
with Saudi private enterprises in the fields of digital payments,
telecommunications, and entertainment during the Public Investment
Fund's Private Sector Forum.
The first MoU was signed with Saudi fintech
startup, FOODICS which aims to provide residents with digitally integrated
electronic payment solutions to improve accessibility and operations.
KAFD also signed an agreement with Saudi Telecom
Company allowing both parties to exchange relevant data, sponsor events, and
promote initiatives with sustainability and smart city initiatives.
Speaking to Arab News, Gautam Sashittal, CEO of
KAFD, said as partnerships are one of the pillars of the potential success of
Vision 2030 iniative, they are very important to his organization as it
Sashittal said: "Partnership is all about
cooperation, cohesion, working together, and collaboration. And this is what
KAFD is extremely good at."
"Across the spectrum, from contracting to project
management consulting to sustainability options to smart city options to
technology options, there are lots of areas in which we are working with the
private sector in partnership," the CEO added,
A third MoU was signed with Altawahuj
Entertainment to build an indoor and outdoor adventure park accessible to
visitors and residents in KAFD under the attractions for families and children.
"We signed an MoU today with the Altawahuj Group
for an Entertainment for an entertainment option, which is creating an indoor
adventure park," the KAFD CEO said.
These agreements aim to promote long-term ties
between the public and private sectors in order to create new business
"We're constantly signing MoU's these are all to
develop partnerships with the private sector because the private sector has to
be front and center of what we are doing in order to create local content, in
order to create new jobs, in order to give the economy the fillip that it needs
and to spread the growth of the economy, to spread the sort of create more jobs
for example," he said.
The KAFD CEO also highlighted that there will be
100,000 people living and working in the district by the end of next year, with
more than 70 F&B outlets, three hotels, and entertainment options.
"That's only a part of the story, A new journey is
just starting because we've built on only about 40% of our landbank. We've got
60% of the landbank. We've got a huge number of projects that we are working on
already. So you'll see that rapidly progressing in the next 2 to 3 years," the
These MoU signings come after the announcement of
Kamco Invest, a regional non-banking financial powerhouse move its Saudi offices
to KAFD on Monday.
"Global foreign investment increased by over 75
percent in 2021; in Saudi Arabia alone it more than tripled in the same year.
Now is the right time for companies to invest, particularly in growing economies
such as the Kingdom. We are glad that Kamco Invest shares this foresight and has
joined a growing portfolio of international firms choosing KAFD as their Saudi
headquarters," Sashittal said.
King Abdullah Financial District to deliver 1,000
apartments this year
The MoUs come alongside a plan by KAFD build 1,000
apartments by the end of 2023 to transform the area into a perfect destination.
Sashittal said the development would create "the
perfect destination to work, to live, and to play" while speaking at the Private
“Are we done? No, this is just the beginning,” he
Located in the heart of Riyadh, KAFD has more than
94 buildings, and multiple towers, and combines residential solutions, work, and
“We’ve only developed around 40 percent of our
land, which is about 1.6 sq. km, and we’re starting our really exciting projects
over the next 3 to 5 years,” he told the forum.
Shashittal highlighted the achievements of KAFD
and its plans for the future, which included the development of 1 million sq. m
of office real estate, 130,000 sq. m of retail, 984 apartments, and around 70
food and beverages outlets.
The CEO added: “We will have a lot of branded
residencies, hospitality keys, and more commercial space.”
When asked about the district’s aspirations, the
top official stated: “We will create the next benchmark of grade A+ office
Furthermore, “the public realm, what we call the
Wadi, sees at least 5,000 visitors every evening, and on special days like
Founding Day and National Day we have 15,000-20,000 people,” he said.
The urban design of KACD helps to promote a
healthier lifestyle with features such as the Al-Wadi area. “We’re creating
multiple experiences for visitors from Riyadh to come into KAFD, as well as to
create the retail experiences for the office tenants and the residents,” added
KAFD’s CEO also focused on the central role of the
private sector, micro, small and medium enterprises in particular, in the
“According to the World Bank, 50 percent of the
jobs globally and 90 percent of the enterprises globally, are MSMEs.”
The sector is very vibrant with regard to its
process, technologies, and people, and that is why KAFD has already tapped into
“What KAFD have been able to achieve would never
have been possible without the support of our shareholder — the PIF — and of
course the country’s leadership behind us, and that is what propels us forward,”