World’s second largest crude oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, has announced an ambitious new project on the horizon. A tremendous megacity, “NEOM” will be fully automated and 100% powered by renewable energy.
Plans for NEOM were revealed last week by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Future Investment Initiative Conference in Riyadh. “This is a place for dreamers who want to do something in the world,” he said. In his address, Prince Mohammad presented two phones, one a decade old brick cellphone, and the other a new smartphone. He said the smartphone represented NEOM, and compared any other city to the old cellphone.
NEOM is currently under construction in the Kingdom’s northwestern region, near the Red Sea. Expanding into neighbouring countries Egypt and Jordan, NEOM will be the “first private zone to span three countries,” reported the Ethicalist. At 10,230 sq. miles (26,500 sq. km), NEOM will be 33 times the size of New York City. The $ 500 billion project will be financed by the Saudi government and private investors.
NEOM intends to emphasize “living”, along with industries including biotechnology, digital services, advanced manufacturing, entertainment, energy, water and food– with the intention of reducing the region’s dependence on oil. “An idyllic lifestyle paired with excellent economic opportunities that surpass that of any other metropolis. It will attract Saudi Arabians and expatriates, as do all other global societies,” says the PIF.
Prince Mohammad also promised to end extremism, reported Arab News. “We want to go back to what we were, the moderate Islam that’s open to all religions. We want to live a normal life …. coexist and contribute to the world,” he said. “We will not spend the next 30 years of our lives dealing with destructive ideas. We will destroy them today.”
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