Saudi Arabia proposed plans to build a $500 billion 10,230 square mile transnational megacity that will be constructed on the border regions of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt on Tues, Oct. 24. Dubbed NEOM, the city will be about 33 times greater than New York City and will act as an economic and industrial hub for the three countries and the region neighboring them.
The plans to build NEOM were launched in Saudi Arabia’s capital city Riyadh by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The crown prince said that the city will focus on building industries such as food, biotechnology, water and energy, entertainment and advanced manufacturing.
Speaking at a conference at the Future Investment Initiative on Tues, Oct. 24, the crown prince said that the city would be a place for people with a vision. “This place is not for conventional people or conventional companies. This will be a place for the dreamers for the world,” he said, speaking on a panel at the conference. “The strong political will and the desire of a nation. All the success factors are there to create something big in Saudi Arabia,” he added.
The building of NEOM comes as a strategy to diversify the economy that has been dependent on oil for a long time. The plan will see the city use drones, robotics and driverless cars in a high-tech move to lift the Saudi economy. Additionally, the plans of the city to use purely renewable energy will see NEOM resort to wind power and solar energy, said the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is currently the country’s sole sovereign fund.
NEOM will border the Red Sea and plans to link Saudi Arabia to Egypt and the rest of Africa have included the building of King Salman Bridge. “NEOM is situated on one of the world’s most prominent economic arteries,” PIF said. “Its strategic location will also facilitate the zone’s rapid emergence as a global hub that connects Asia, Europe and Africa.”
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, which the crown prince chairs, the Saudi government and other global technology companies will take part in funding the NEOM project. Giants in the global business and corporate managers from the world’s largest firms together with senior Saudi officials attended the Future Initiative conference in Riyadh where the plan was unveiled.
NEOM has been termed as a reform to the Saudi economy, and it will see the Kingdom overcome the struggles that have come from dependence on oil and the associated low oil prices. Additionally, the plan comes as Saudi Arabia is cutting red tape barriers to increase trade in the country.