RIYADH — NEOM, the world’s most ambitious project to be built in the Northwestern part of Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea coast, entered the first phase of actual development after accelerating preparation works to develop the infrastructure of the first residential area.
NEOM Bay, a luxurious touristic destination, will be the first urban area to embrace the future population in NEOM, which is planned to be one of the most attractive destinations worldwide for investments and sustainable economic development.
Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, announced the launch of NEOM project during the first edition of FII on Oct. 24 last year.
In his speech during the second edition of FII this year, Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO of NEOM, said that preparations are ongoing and progressing significantly to start the construction work at NEOM Bay. He noted that the pace of project development is moving “greater than expected.”
He said that NEOM focuses on human and technological advancement to create a unique sustainable environment for humanity, all within the objectives of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.
Al-Nasr said: “We are working hard to ensure that the newly created towns and cities in NEOM will create new ways of living, economy, trade, innovation that at the end will make NEOM an ideal environment for all of its future residents.”
Moving to the challenges facing the project, the CEO added: “We are aware of the challenges we face in developing a mega project such as NEOM as it will be the largest international special zone in the world in terms of size and scale of investments. However, our capabilities backed with strong political, financial and logistical support will enable us to achieve what we plan for, especially that we are dealing with a greenfield project in an untouched land.”
Work on the first airport in NEOM is expected to be completed before the end of 2018 with bi-weekly flights operating to and from NEOM scheduled at the start of 2019. This comes as part of a general plan to establish a network of airports in NEOM that will include an international airport with world-class standards.
Additionally, NEOM is witnessing progress in a number of key areas. One of the major key developments at NEOM since its inception is the identification of 16 economic sectors to create a sustainable economy that will not only generate job opportunities but will also unlock human innovation and creativity at all levels.
As NEOM reaches an advanced stage of development, these sectors are targeted to generate an estimated annual income of $100 billion. A large part of this income will be in the form of redirecting the outflow of investments and spending back into Saudi Arabia. This in return will have a significant positive impact on the Kingdom’s GDP.
The identified economic sectors aim not only at stimulating growth and economic diversification but more importantly at finding innovative and sustainable solutions for challenges facing the future of human civilization. The 16 sectors are the future of energy, future of water, future of mobility, future of biotech, future of food, future of manufacturing, future of media, future of entertainment, culture and fashion, future of technology and digital, future of tourism, future of sport, future of design and construction, future of services, future of health and well-being, future of education, and finally the future of livability as the foundation of all sectors.
One of the key factors for ensuring the success of NEOM is the political and financial backing of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the project. The project is backed with more than $500 billion that will be provided by the Saudi Arabian government, the Public Investment Fund, as well as local and international investors.