The government has set up a ministerial committee to resolve questions of KAFD ownership and cost. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
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A glitzy $10 billion financial district in Riyadh hopes to open its first phase for business this year but is struggling with red tape and uncertainty about its ownership, showing the challenges facing Saudi Arabia's economic reforms.Salman Albaiz, a director at the project, said this week about a fifth of the 1.6 million-square-meter site, including a sleek conference center and a modern white mosque, was now complete.Albaiz said it would resemble Dubai International Financial Center, which attracted foreign firms with its own regulatory regime.The first phase of KAFD could bring annual revenues of 240 million riyals ($64 million), rising to 3.5 billion riyals once the whole project is complete, he said.Albaiz said the entire project was 80 to 90 percent complete and a further 8 billion to 10 billion riyals would be needed to finish it, on top of about 30 billion riyals already spent.
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