The team behind the NEOM mega-city project in Saudi Arabia said recently that they have begun environmental, archaeological and geological surveys to ensure successful and sustainable execution of future constructions.
NEOM was born from the ambition of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 to see the country develop into a pioneering and thriving model of excellence in various and important areas of life. A press statement released when the project was first announced in October last year, stated that NEOM aims to thrive the transformation of the Kingdom into a leading global hub through the introduction of value chains of industry and technology.
Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier an minister of defense, said at that time, “NEOM will focus on nine specialized investment sectors and living conditions that will drive the future of human civilization, energy and water, mobility, biotech, food, technological & digital sciences, advanced manufacturing, media, and entertainment with livability as its foundation. The focus on these sectors will stimulate economic growth and diversification by nurturing international innovation and manufacturing, to drive local industry, job creation, and GDP growth in the Kingdom. NEOM will attract private as well as public investments and partnerships. NEOM will be backed by more than $500 billion over the coming years by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, local as well as international investors.”
Nadhmi Al-Nasr was recently appointed as the new CEO of Saudi Arabia’s mega-city project NEOM, and is well-known for “turning visions into realities” and aims to serve as a catalyst for NEOM achieving its ambitious vision, according to industry insiders.
Al-Nasr replaced Klaus Kleinfeld, who will take over “wider responsibilities” as an advisor to Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense. Kleinfeld was appointed NEOM’s first CEO when the project was announced last October.
Al-Nasr, a member of NEOM’s founding board and a veteran of state oil giant Saudi Aramco, took over from Kleinfeld from Aug. 1. Al-Nasr had worked on developing the strategy and development of NEOM Bay and will soon be responsible for further strategic development and business plans for NEOM’s core economic sectors.
Al-Nasr has over 30 years of experience with Saudi Aramco and most recently has been the interim president for the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).
The planned mega-city is a 26,500 sq. km zone, designed to attract international investors and to focus on industries such as energy and water, biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing and tourism, according to officials.
NEOM is the world’s first independent special zone stretching over three countries set to become a destination located in the northwestern region of Saudi Arabia.
In addition, KAUST and NEOM have agreed to establish the “Center of Excellence for NEOM Research at KAUST”.
Both parties intend to cooperate in developing and establishing a world class research and educational center. Together they will search for solutions in some of the most important and demanding future technologies such as sustainable energy production, efficient energy use and energy distribution, urban planning, sustainable agriculture, seismology, environmental friendly water desalination, artificial intelligence, big data and sensors.
NEOM and KAUST understand this cooperation as a first, but decisive step to further substantial contributions for the future development of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as for the future of global green and human oriented technologies. This far-reaching cooperation is open to be joined by other leading Research and Development institutions.
“This collaboration is yet another milestone for the Nation,” said Al-Nasr at the time of the signing. “Much is expected of organizations with the intellectual capital and ambition of KAUST and NEOM in this time of national transformation, and this partnership represents an important avenue for exploring our joint potential and inevitable impact.” — SG