Searching for investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia is easy due to the geographical diversity across the 13 districts – each has specific investment characteristics related to its economic and development needs. By getting an understanding of the geographic and natural resource features of each area, investors can easily explore their investment plan for the Kingdom. Moreover, the large size of the country helps to attract further investment by paving the way for investors to easily choose a place relevant to their investment plan.
Al-Baha is located in the southwest of the Kingdom, sandwiched between the Makkah and Assir regions. The region boasts fine scenery, including mountains, valleys and forests. Combined with its agreeable climate, Baha has, in recent years, taken its place among the resorts where Saudi citizens can spend their holidays in summer, rather than going abroad. Other cities in this region are Baljarashi, Mandaq, Qilwa and Al-Aqeeq. These, too, have moderate climates.
Located in the north of Saudi Arabia, this province is famous for its agriculture. The city of Jouf is the administrative capital of the region. It is famous for its dates and olives, having hundreds of thousands of trees. Guraiyaat is at the extreme on the north-west of Saudi Arabia and is famous for its salt deposits. Duma Al-Jandal is another historic city from pre-Islamic times. It is famous for its ancient forts, the Omar Bin al-Khattab Mosque and an ancient tunnel. Tabarjal and Suwair are also famous for agriculture, with large quantities of sweet water. The government distributed land to the farmers, which resulted in an agricultural boom in the area.
Located on the northwest of the Kingdom, with Tabuk to the north, Makkah to the south, and Hail and Qasim to its east, the province of Al-Medinah includes the cities of Al-Medinah Al-Munawwara, Yanbu, Hanakia, Badr, Khyber and AlMahd. Medinah is the second holiest city in the Muslim world. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his followers migrated to this city in 622 AD. It was in Medinah that the Islamic era began. It is the city of the Prophet. As the place where the Holy Quran was compiled, and where the Prophet’s companions administered the affairs of the Muslim community, it was the seat of the first Islamic state. The Prophet (pbuh) is buried here. Other cities in this region are Yanbu, which has a seaport on the Red Sea, and serves as the arrival point for pilgrims coming from Africa. It is also an industrial city. Badr and Khaybar are other famous Islamic cities. Al-Mahd is famous for its gold mines.
Assir is a relatively fertile region in the extreme southwest (near Yemen) made up of coastal mountains. Mountain peaks rise to 3,000 meters and there is ample rainfall to support the natural vegetation and cultivation. With juniper trees, wild olive trees, and even some larger trees, Assir is the only part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to support a forest. The Assir Region has always been densely populated. With the implementation of government irrigation schemes, the agricultural potential of the region has been increased. Abha is located in the southwest of the Kingdom. Its position, some 2,200 meters above sea-level, gives it a relatively moderate climate. Temperatures remain within a narrower band than in many other parts of the Kingdom. It also enjoys the highest level of rainfall in all of Saudi Arabia. The natural beauty of the region and its fertility have encouraged the Saudi Arabian Government to establish a number of national parks, enabling Saudi citizens to spend their holidays in an outstanding location of natural beauty to rival anywhere abroad. Some other cities in the region are Khamis Mushayt, Bisha and Al-Namas.
Located in the east and southeast of the Kingdom, the Eastern Region contains the Kingdom’s massive petroleum reserves. The headquarters of the Saudi oil industry is located in Dhahran, a few miles from the administrative capital and port of Dammam. Ras Tanura, the world’s largest petroleum port, is located to the north of Dhahran. Dhahran previously served as the headquarters of Aramco, and is now the site of the King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals. It is served by an international airport of outstanding architectural beauty -combining traditional Islamic design with the most modern building technology. Jubail and Yanbu constitute a unique experiment in development which has proved outstandingly successful. These two cities were planned to provide a purpose-built and highly efficient environment for modern industrial production. Al-Ahsa is one of the oldest regions of the Arabian Peninsula. It is famous for its outstanding agriculture and produces the best quality dates. It also has several tourism centers. The fertile oasis-cities of Qatif and Hofuf are also located here.
Hail is surrounded by Al-Jouf in the north, Al-Qasim in the south, Riyadh in the east, and Tabuk in the west. For centuries, Hail was seen as the “key to the desert” because it was the main transit point for pilgrims heading for the Holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, and for traders traveling north or south on the Arabian Peninsula. Towards the end of the Abbasid Caliphate, when the purity of the Arab language was threatened with dilution by foreign influences, the Muslim scholars of Hail took on the responsibility for protecting and promulgating Arabic in its purest form. As a result, the city became an important center for research and knowledge. Kuthair, Qais bin Jerwah, Al-Trimmah bin Adie, and Antarah bin Shaddad all belong to this province. The last of these was named after a poet who wrote one of the most famous of all Arab poems, “Mu’allaqat”. The other cities of the region, Buqaa, Jubah, Hait, Al-Khitta, Rowda and Sameera, are famous for an abundance of sweet water. Wheat, dates, vegetables, and other items are cultivated here.
Jizan was known in ancient times as Almikhlaf Alsulimani. It lies on the Red Sea, in the southwest of the Kingdom. The Jizan area consists of fertile plains, forests, and mountains. The alluvial deposits brought down from the mountains by rivers and floods have created the fertile plains, which extend behind the coastal swampland. The forest region (the Alhazoun district), which is subject to flooding, consists of forests interspaced with areas of rich pasture. The mountain region is part of the Alsarawat mountain range, which makes up the jagged backbone of the Arabian Peninsula. The highest peak in Jizan is the Fifa Mountain, which rises to 1,850 meter. The Jizan region runs along the Red Sea coast for almost 300 km and includes some 100 islands.
This region is located in the western part of the Kingdom, with Al-Madinah to the north, Riyadh to the east and Al-Baha and Assir to the south. Cities in this region include Makkah, Jeddah, Taif, Rabigh and Qunfuzah. The Holy City of Makkah is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the place where God’s message was first revealed to him, and where he returned after the migration to Medinah in 622 AD. Makkah is Islam’s holiest city. Five times a day, the world’s one billion Muslims, wherever they may be, turn to the Holy City of Makkah to pray. And at least once in their lives, all Muslims who can, perform the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Makkah. Thus each year the Holy City of Makkah is host to more than two million hajjis (pilgrims) from all over the world. The Holy Mosque in Makkah houses the Ka’aba. Jeddah is the commercial hub of the Kingdom, served by a seaport and an international airport. It has a huge pilgrimage city, a tent-shaped structure of outstanding architectural beauty in traditional Islamic design. Jeddah is more than 3000 years old and was known as a resting place for fishermen. It is the gateway to Makkah and is famous for its wide, beautiful corniche.
Najran lies in the southwest of the Kingdom. It is bounded by Yemen to the south; Al-Silayel and Wadi Al-Dawasir to the north; Dhahran Al-Janoub and the Asir province to the west; and Oman to the east. Although Najran has a desert climate, the heavy monsoon rains that fall in the spring, combined with its underground water reserves, produce fertile agricultural land. Originally, Najran was a small trading town known as Abul Saud. The large scale tree-planting program has created parks in Najran itself and in the surrounding villages. Najran also boasts the largest water dam in the Kingdom, the Najran Valley Dam, with a storage capacity of 85 million cubic meters (3,000 million cubic feet). The other famous city in this region is Sharura.
Northern Border Province
Located in the northeast of Saudi Arabia, this province is famous for its livestock breeding and raw phosphate. Arar is the administrative capital of the region. It lies at the cross-roads of international routes to Syria, Iraq and Europe, and serves as a transit point for pilgrims heading to the Holy cities of Makkah and Medinah during Hajj. Rafha is another famous city in the region. It is named after a woman who used to sell pottery near a mountain in the city. It is a city full of ponds and ancient wells since the time of Prophet Solomon. The other main cities in the region are Turaif, which connects to the GCC countries, and Awaiqliya.
Qasim is located in the center of the Kingdom, with Hail to the north, Al-Medinah to the west and Riyadh to the south. Some of the cities located here are Buraidah, Unaiza, Bakariya and Darya. Buraidah, the twin city of Unaizah, lies equidistant from the Red Sea to the west and the Arabian Gulf to the east. It is the regional capital of Qasim and is located on the edge of the Wadi Al-Rummah. The Wadi Al-Rummah is the longest wadi (river) in the Kingdom, stretching some 600 km from near Medinah to the Al-Thuwairat sands. Buraidah has a typical desert climate with hot summers, cold winters and low humidity. As part of the Kingdom’s agricultural development program, the region of Buraidah has made an outstanding contribution to the Kingdom’s wheat and poultry production. It has played a crucial role in enabling the Kingdom to become not only self-sufficient in wheat, but also a major exporter of the cereal.
The central region is considered the heartland of Saudi Arabia both physically and culturally. It is essentially a vast plateau area, but contains uplands, broad valleys, dry rivers and a number of marshes – thought to be the remnants of inland seas which existed in ancient geological times. Most of the central region is arid, with some oases in the north around Qasim. Riyadh is the capital city of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and now rivals any modern city in the world with the splendor of its architecture. Broad highways sweep through the city, passing over and under each other in an impressive and still-growing network. Trees line the broad streets and avenues, giving pleasure and shade to all those who linger beneath them. The name Riyadh is derived from the Arabic word rawdah, meaning “a place of gardens and trees.” With many wadis (a river run dry) in the vicinity, Riyadh has always been a fertile area set in the heartland of the Arabian Peninsula. Of all the Kingdom’s developmental achievements, Riyadh is perhaps the most accessible to the foreign visitor. It is served by the King Khalid International Airport, itself a marvel of design that combines traditional Arab styles with the best of modern architecture. Other cities in this region include Al-Kharj, famous for its agriculture; Darraiya, an ancient city; Dawadmi, Zulfi, Majma and Shargra among others.
Located in the northwest of Saudi Arabia, this province is rich in raw materials such as silica sand, limestone, and clay. For more than 4,000 years, the city of Teema served as the summer capital for the Babel kings. Al-Wajh is famous for its moderate climate all year round. UmmLujj is situated on the coast of the Red Sea. It has long been famous for pearls and, more recently, for fishing, agriculture, and manufacturing gypsum. Haql is situated on the borders of Jordan, Egypt, and Palestine, and is famous for tourism. Duba is also famous for fishing and agriculture.