5-speed listening (Riyadh - Level 6)

Saudi capital city to get $23 billion makeover



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Saudi Arabia's government has announced it will invest a whopping $23 billion in a massive makeover for its capital city, Riyadh. The huge investment is part of a project to beautify the city, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, boost leisure and tourism, and transform Riyadh into "one of the world's most livable cities". In addition to the government's cash injection, a further $15 billion in private sector funding will help finance huge investment opportunities for businesses. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will head the committee overseeing the ambitious project. It is part of the Crown Prince's Vision 2030 initiative aimed at diversifying the kingdom's revenue sources and reducing its reliance on oil.

The plan is set to be the envy of other world capitals, which can only dream of being awarded such vast amounts of money. It aims to improve the quality of life for the capital's 5 million residents. A focus on leisure is integral to making people happier. The plan includes the construction of over 130km of cycling track, a park that will be quadruple the size of New York's Central Park, and hundreds of art installations. Riyadh will be a greener city as the amount of green space per person will be increased by 16-fold. This will be achieved by planting 7.5 million trees and creating dozens of community gardens. Work will begin in the second half of the year. It will create 70,000 jobs and take up to a decade to complete.

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