Nadhmi Al-Nasr updates on first year progress of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s mega-project
The head of Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion NEOM mega-project told delegates at last week’s Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh that its international partners remain committed to the Saudi government’s plans amid strained diplomatic relations.
Answering questions on the final day of conference during a session with John Pagano, CEO, Red Sea Development Company and Michael Reininger, CEO, Qiddiya Investment Company, Nadhmi Al-Nasr said: “I can tell you what I have been doing for the last three days. I have been leading tens of meetings behind closed doors here with all the partners we have been talking to over the past two years. And the emphasis of all these meetings is commitment and ‘let’s go’ and ‘let’s move on’.”
He continued: “The business we are in has not been affected. NEOM is beyond any business. NEOM is the future look of the whole world, the wise people of the world see this as a opportunity for the whole world to turn its vision into reality. I am so proud of our partners.”
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman first announced NEOM, a 26,500 square km zone focussed on industries including energy and water, biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing and entertainment at last year’s Future Investment Initiative conference. Al-Nasr was appointed as the new CEO of the megacity in July. Telling the conference that first phase of planning for NEOM has been completed and that, “in Phase 2 we are identifying all the economic sectors of NEOM, all the living standards, all the living style and community. We are not just building an economy, we are building cities, towns.”
NEOM will be built in the northwestern region of Saudi Arabia, and will span over 26,500 square kilometers. The $500bn megacity on the Red Sea coast will be part of a huge national push to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy. 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. Investments and financing will play a vital role in Neom, set to be spearheaded by the Kingdom’s economy and supported by PIF.
“Many people are saying ‘what has happened since last year?’ I can tell you that over the past 12 months there has been massive work. There is a team working day and night, going through the steps that we have to do to bring NEOM on the ground. It is not a programme or a project that we can push through without doing the planning and the right process.”