Saudi Arabia plans $500bn mega city

NEOM development to span more than 26,500 square kilometres and will overlook the Red Sea

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Future Investment Initiative)

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday announced plans for a $500 billion mega city dubbed ‘NEOM’.

The development’s land mass will include a vast area of Saudi Arabia and also extend across the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, making it the first private zone to span three countries.

“NEOM will focus on nine specialized investment sectors and living conditions that will drive the future of human civilization, energy and water, mobility, biotech, food, technological & digital sciences, advanced manufacturing, media, and entertainment with livability as its foundation”, said Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Crown Prince and Chairman of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), in a statement.

“The focus on these sectors will stimulate economic growth and diversification by nurturing international innovation and manufacturing, to drive local industry, job creation, and GDP growth in the Kingdom. NEOM will attract private as well as public investments and partnerships. NEOM will be backed by more than $500 billion over the coming years by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, local as well as international investors.”

NEOM will be built in the northwestern region of Saudi Arabia, and will span over 26,500 square kilometers, according to a statement. The wind and sun will allow NEOM to be powered solely by regenerative energy.

The site will also become the main entrance to the King Salman Bridge, linking Asia and Africa, which will add to the zone’s economic significance, the statement said.

Investments and financing will play a vital role in NEOM, set to be spearheaded by the Kingdom’s economy and supported by PIF.

NEOM is developed to be independent of the Kingdom’s existing governmental framework, excluding sovereignty, the statement said.

“NEOM will be constructed from the ground-up, on greenfield sites, allowing it a unique opportunity to be distinguished from all other places that have been developed and constructed over hundreds of years and we will use this opportunity to build a new way of life with excellent economic prospects. Future technologies form the cornerstone for NEOM’s development: Disruptive solutions for transportation from automated driving to passenger drones, new ways of growing and processing food, healthcare centered around the patient for their holistic well-being, wireless high speed internet as a free good called “digital air”, free world-class continuous online education, full scale e-governance putting city services at your fingertips, building codes that make net-zero carbon houses the standard, a city layout that encourages walking and bicycling and all solely powered by renewable energy just to name a few. All of this will allow for a new way of life to emerge that takes into account the ambitions and outlooks of humankind paired with best future technologies and outstanding economic prospects,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman added.

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