Infrastructure is a main characterstic of measuring mordernaization of that particular country, network of roads, various means of transportation,
electricity, telecommunication, health care, education facilities, are usually considered as infrastructure. This section provides information on the different available means of transport including Airlines, Railways, Roads and Seaports. You can also find here information related to Telecommunications, Healthcare, and Educational services.
The cities, and towns across the Kingdom offer good housing facilities including apartments, private villas, and compounds. Companies employing large numbers of expatriates normally have private facilities for their employees. Expatriates have a marked preference for residing in compounds, although many independent villas, and apartments are available. Compounds usually offer a high level of recreational facilities and group transportation – for example for wives to visit the shopping centers and malls.
Air travel is the preferred method of travel within the Kingdom due to the distances separating the main cities. Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) is the national carrier, and has recently added 60 new Boeing aircraft to its fleet. It has a mandate to privatize, and is currently in the beginning stages of outlining a privatization plan. In 2000, the award-winning SAUDIA carried 13 million passengers on 117,291 flights. All major airlines in the world offer services in and out of the Kingdom.
Riyadh's King Khalid International airport is 35 kilometers outside of Riyadh. The airport has facilities such as a hotel, a buffet, a bank, a post office, shops, and many rental car agencies. Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International airport is 18 kilometers North of Jeddah, also with a hotel, restaurants, a bank, a post office, shops, car hiring agencies, and special pilgrimage facilities. Dammam's King Fahd International airport is 50 kilometers Northwest of Dammam with facilities including a mosque, a cargo terminal, a restaurant and a duty free shop.
The Kingdom has multi-track highways, and daily train services between Riyadh and Dammam. At the end of 2000, the Kingdom had 155,237 kilometers of paved roads, and in the last few years has been adding to that about 2,500 kilometers per year.
The Kingdom owns the largest marine network in the Middle East consisting of eight ports, or six commercial ports, and two industrial ports. They are Dammam Seaport, Jeddah Islamic Port, Jubail Commercial Port, Riyadh Dry Port, Jizan Port, Dhiba Port, and Yanbu Port and King Fahd Industrial Port in Jubail.
- Car rental facilities are available in all major cities.
The Kingdom has witnessed rapid growth, and advancements in the field of telecommunications. There are 1,000 telephone circuits with direct access to 152 countries. At the end of March 2003, the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) operated 3.96 million fixed lines and 7.5 million mobile lines.
But the mobile phone penetration is less than 10 % of the population, rapid expansion, and upgrading of the network is under way. International telephone calls can be made to almost anywhere in the world. Internet services are widely available, and the main cities have several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Internet café's. High speed DSL Internet line is also available.
The cost of mobile phone service in Saudi Arabia varies on the type of plan chosen. The basic service will cost SR 300 (US $80) for installation plus SR 60 (US $16) per month. Local and nationwide calls cost SR 0.50 (US $0.13) per minute at peak hours and SR 0.40 (US $0.11) at off-peak hours. An additional one-time SR 100 (US $27) installation charge gives access to international calls, the fees for which vary depending upon duration, and location of the call. We advice you to visit the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) website for detailed information.
Medical Technology is continuously being upgraded in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom has its own facilities to train Doctors, Nurses, and other Medical Staff. Saudis rarely travel abroad to get specialized medical treatment. These services are now availabe for the most remote communities in the country. The private sector, which provides a vital contribution to health services, has expanded over the past decade. It operates number of Hospitals, and Clinics in the country. Major hospitals provide all sorts of sophisticated treatments including Open-heart Surgery, Kidney Transplants, and Cancer Therapy. Saudi Arabia has one of the World's largest and best-equipped Eye Hospitals, the King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital, and one of the largest medical facilities in the Middle East, the King Fahd Medical City in Riyadh. The complex includes various Medical departments, and has Housing for 3000 Employees.
Approximately 11,350 Doctors, Nurses, and other Medical Staff, including the Saudi Red Crescent Society, which provides Medical Services to the millions of people who visit the Kingdom for the Annual Pilgrimage of Hajj. Immunization against TB, Polio, Hepatitis and Tetanus is freely available, Medical Insurance Schemes are available at reasonable costs.
Saudi Arabia's nationwide Educational System comprises 26 Government Universities, more than 24,000 Schools, and a large number of Colleges, and other Educational, and Training institutions. The system is open to every citizen, and provides students with free Education, Books and Health Services. The government allocates over 25% of the total budget for Education including Vocational Training, and spends around 13.17 billion U.S. dollars on Primary Education, and Educational Research.
All levels of Education is free for Saudi nationals, and private schools are available for children of foreigners working in Saudi Arabia. These international schools offer good education for children up to 14 years, some foreign schools offer education up to 16 years.
Saudi Government has paid great attention to the industrial sector that contributed to its overall contribution to National Development during the period of the last Five Development Plans. Industrial sector contribution in G.D.P. has doubled, a sign of its flourishing, from less than 2.5% prior to the start of First Development Plan in 1969 to reach 50.4% in 1995. This leap in the contribution of industry to domestic product is attributed to state support for the sector that is clearly reflected by governmental loan programs supportive to industrial activities. State have established the Industrial Development Fund for this purpose. It provided crucial support for private sector industrial and manufacturing projects. State funding for such industrial projects increased from 35 Million S.R. at the end of the First Development Plan in 1974 to 19.49 Billion S.R. in 1996. This financial support was provided to build a remarkable industrial revival, invested capital has multiplied 55 times during 1970 to 1996.
It is self-evident that rapid industrial development of Saudi Arabia will reflect positively on Commerce and Trade whether in exports or in imports. Past trade activities of the Kingdom is incomparable with the pesent trade activity level. National trade had undergone change from being limited and mostly seasonal, depending on Hajj season for example, to be more dependent on solid economic grounds that are in fact a fruit of the progress and development of the Kingdom in various fields.
National exports activities have a notable steady increase in the last 25 years, i.e. since the beginning of First National Development Plan. Then in 1970 (1390/1391 AH), it was 10.9 Billion S.R. but in 1994 (1415 AH) it reached to 159.6 Billion SR. This stresses the fact that Saudi Arabia has transformed from being a country that imports most of its needs, into one that is self-sufficient, and exporter of some surplus goods and products.
It is a fact that National Development and Security are inseparable. It is said that Development is not possible without Order, and no Order is established without Security. The Kingdom is aware of such significance since early beginnings, and paid utmost attention to National Security, and dedicated this crucial duty to the Ministry of Interior. The Ministry of Interior is responsible for providing, and sustaining the security and safety of both citizens and denizens.
Several factors, and resolute efforts contributed in achieving the exemplar stability, and security of the country. The Keenness, and Decisiveness of the Kingdom and its Leadership since the reign of late founder King AbdulAziz until the reign of the Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin AbdulAziz Al-Saud to apply Shariah and its Laws, particularly Criminal Laws. This keenness resulted in minimizing crime and lawlessness, and made it clear to all parties trying to harm such status, and how such strict rulings will be enacted.