In 2012-2013, the World Bank retained Locus Economica to update 2007 and 2011 assessments of the Kingdom’s various spatial development policies for its Ministry of Finance. Specifically, the firm reviewed existing policies and programs to identifying any policy gaps they might have and to recommending new measures as they move forward. Locus Economica staff traveled to a variety of zones around the country including to the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), to re-export and industrial zones in Dammam and Jeddah, and to a variety of other sites around Riyadh and along the Gulf Coast. The firm assessed the zones' strengths and weaknesses from a global benchmarks perspective and offered recommendations on how Saudi Arabia might better position itself to attract additional investment.
The Locus Economica 2013 study for the World Bank recommended that the Saudi Arabia focus its spatial development efforts on implementing a modern SEZ concept in Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman. Following this work, and lack of success to date around its 2006 “economic cities” initiative, Saudi Arabia eventually announced the establishment of the Integrated Bonded Logistics Zone, as an SEZ, at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport, in 2018.