Guide for expatriates moving, living and working in Saudi Arabia, Ryadh City Guide, international Movers, aparthotel, relocation, concierge services to Ryadh, Real Estate, with property search, relocation information, and shopping and services directories

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Saudi Arabia Welcome
The Guide for living and working in Saudi Arabia
A guide, information, advice and useful addresses.

Saudi Arabia Welcome

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Political Status Geographical situation
Economy & statistics


Other sectors
Weights, measures and voltages
Main towns


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Connections with France
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6 - Other sectors

The service sector employs 65% of the working population and represents 41% of the GNP.
Saudi Arabia has launched large scale investment and economic reconversion programmes.
All the sectors are growing and the country has a very modern life style, the main areas to continue developing are medical, commercial, large scale distribution and foodstuffs.
Big American enterprises are present in nearly every domain, from Panda and Safeways supermarkets, which are open 24 hours, to big industrial farms of 50,000 hectares (glasshouses, intensive wheat growing...) not to mention the numerous para-military activities.

It must be noted that there are three distinct categories of consumers :
- royalty, the aristocracy and the big families of tradespeople and entrepreneurs (30,000 - 40,000 people)
- 13 million Saudians who have an average income of 120,000 FF.
They spend about two thirds of their income on consumer goods and foodstuffs.
- 4 million immigrant workers who are both unqualified and in a precarious situation.

Saudians are very attracted to modern products and new technologies, it is they who own the most computers per capita in the Middle East.
There are already 400,000 internet users among them.
These internet users are very interested in shopping sites, in fact 52% of them have already bought articles on the web compared to 23% which is the average number of international shoppers.

7 - Population

The latest census shows a population of 20,738,920.
There are 1,900,000 inhabitants living in Riyadh, which is the capital.
The majority of the population are Arabs, but there are nearly five million foreigners living in Saudi Arabia (27%).
The main expatriate communities are Indians (1,228,000), Egyptians (1,195,000), Pakistanis (778,600), Philippinos (460,000), Bangladeshis (446,200) and Yemenites (424,300).
There are also 35,000 Americans, 30,000 British, 5,000 French and 2,500 Germans residing in Saudi Arabia.
The population density is 7 inhabitants per sq. km.

0 - 14 year olds : 41.15%
15 - 64 year olds : 56.07%
65 years and over : 2.78%
life expectancy 71.91 years
population at an age to work : 11 million
- of which are working : 7 million

demographic expansion 1997-2015 : +3.1%
urban population : 86%
child mortality : 21%
energy consumption per capita TOE : 4.75
Population without drinking water : 5%
population without sanitary installations : 14%
n° of doctors per 1000 inhabitants : 1.3
telephone lines per 1000 inhabitants : 117
mobile telephones per 1000 inhabitants : 17
private cars per 1000 inhabitants : 90
n° of computers per 1000 inhabitants : 43.6
adult illiteracy : 27%
secondary schooling/age class : 61%
graduates/age class : 16%

8 - Language
The official language is Arabic, the second most used language is English.
Not knowing Arabic is not an obstacle to working in the country.

9 - Religion

Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country
Friday is the day of prayer in the mosques.
Mecca and Medina are the holy centres of the Islamic religion
Religious affiliations : 98% Muslims (mostly Sunnites), 0,8% Christians, 0,4% others.

10 - Weights, measures & voltage

The electrical voltage is 110-220V nearly everywhere and electricity is free throughout the country.
The plugs in use vary, mainly they are American types, but you will also find British or German types.

11 - Money

The currency is the Riyal (SAR) which has a fixed parity with the US dollar.
1 Riyal = 1.837 F.
1FF = 0.55 SAR
1$ = 3.75 SAR
1 euro = 3.5702 SAR

There are no regulations or restrictions on transferring money.

All international credit cards are accepted.

12 - Main towns


with its 2,000,000 inhabitants is situated on the Red Sea.
It is a modern town with a large port.
The airport is 30 kms out of town, a taxi to town costs about 100 FF.
Temperatures go from + 25° in January-February to + 45° in July-August
Office opening times : 8am to 1pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm

Is the capital of the company, there are 3,100,000 inhabitants.
It is a modern town with the royal palaces in it.
The population has enormously increased and so has building.
The airport is 45 kms out of town, a taxi to town costs about 100 FF.
Temperatures go from + 10° in winter to + 50° in summer.
Office opening times : 8am to 2.30pm (administrations), 8am to 1pm and 4.30pm to 7.30pm (private)

(1 million inhabitants) is the centre of the Islamic world with its large mosque which holds the Kaaba
(the Black Stone) which is venerated by the Muslims
Non-Muslims are forbidden entry to Mecca
It is situated at 80 kms from the Red Sea.

(0.4 million inhabitants) is the second holy town in Saudi Arabia.
It is in this town that there is the Mausoleum of Mohammed.
The town is a commercial centre with an agricultural market of citrus fruit and dates.

(0.6 million inhabitants) is situated on the western bank of the Persian Gulf.
It is a modern town.

(0.3 million inhabitants) is situated in the north

(0.4 million inhabitants), situated near Djeddah and Mecca

13 - Climate

The climate is very hot with large temperature variations.
It is tropical and humid on the coast.
In the middle of the desert the temperature goes over 50°C in summer.
The average desert climate goes from 18° to 38°C
In the mountain regions the climate is cooler.
In Ryadh the climate is very hot during the three summer months, but is generally pleasant during the rest of the year with the dry and bracing air of the desert.
Djeddah, on the contrary, is very humid.

14 - Insects

There are scorpions in the desert.
There are a lot of mosquitoes, which are active all the year round, particularly after sundown.

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