In October, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) unveiled Riyadh’s plans for NEOM, a futuristic desert city that he hailed as a “civilizational leap for humanity.” Situated next to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, the NEOM zone is close to major maritime trade corridors via the Suez Canal and has potential to further deepen economic links between multiple continents. NEOM will feature the future King Salman Bridge, connecting the city, which is expected to become 33 times bigger than New York, with Egypt and, by extension, all of Africa.
NEOM comes from the Latin word for “new” (neo). The final “m” stands for the Arabic word for “future” (mostaqbal). The project, which MBS stated will be built by “people who live in the desert” who possess “colossal will, determination and drive,” will be a part of a new Saudi framework. In addition to domestic and foreign investors, the Saudi government will back NEOM with more than $500 billion, and the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund — the Public Investment Fund (PIF) — will support the futuristic project. MBS spoke of a new type of capitalism, seemingly based on updated Thatcherite principles.
NEOM, which is to open by 2030, will rely heavily on the food, entertainment, energy, water, manufacturing and biotechnology sectors, but most importantly the city is promised to feature state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence (AI), drones, nanobiology labs, solar panels, hyperloops, luxury retailers and first-rate restaurants. In line with MBS’ plans to address climate change, NEOM is intended to inspire a “new generations of cities” with clean energy powering the urban landscape.
Source Credit: Fair Observer
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