Lately, Saudi Arabia has been experiencing difficulty in paying its oil workers due to falling oil prices. To be able to boost their economy, the Saudi Arabian government has thought of a project. They plan to build a $500 billion mega city that connects to Jordan and Egypt, and will be solely powered by renewable energy.
Source: Business Insider
On Tuesday, at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the project which is named NEOM. This project will be financed by the Saudi government and private investors, according to Reuters.
This mega city will span 10,230 square miles, which is more than 33 times than that of the land area of New York City in the United States.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Masayoshi Son, SoftBank Group Corp. Chairman and CEO, and Christine Lagarde, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, attend the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2017.
Source: Reuters via Business Insider
The main goal of NEOM is to lessen the reliance of Saudi Arabia on oil exports, which could expand the economy of the country beyond oil. The mega city will focus on different industries, including energy, water, biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing, as well as entertainment. Saudi Arabia still has not released a masterplan on how the city may look like.
Saudi Arabia has appointed Klaus Kleinfeld, a former chief executive of Siemens AG and Alcoa Inc, to handle the NEOM project. According to Reuters, officials are hoping that a privatization program which includes selling 5% of oil giant Saudi Aramco, will raise $300 billion for NEOM’s construction.
This future project could make NEOM one of the largest cities that will be running without the help of fossil fuels. Saudi Arabia plans to complete the first section of NEOM by 2025.
“This place is not for conventional people or conventional companies, this will be a place for the dreamers for the world,” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said 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.”