Saudi Arabia to build US$500bn independent special zone

AL DNeom aims to free the Kingdom from its dependence on oil exports. (Image source: Stephen Downes/Flickr)Saudi Arabia has announced a new US$500bn project, Neom, to develop a business and industrial zone that links with Jordan and Egypt, a move that aims to free the kingdom from dependence on oil exports

Neom is seen to become a new vibrant destination located in the northwestern region of Saudi Arabia.

During the launch of the project, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, said, “Neom was born from Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan, which aims to see the country develop into a pioneering and thriving model of excellence in various and important areas of life.”

“It stretches over 26,500 sq km of land and extends across the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, rendering Neom the first special economic zone to span three countries,” he added.

The project is expected to focus on industries such as energy and water, mobility, biotech, food, technological and digital sciences, advanced manufacturing, media and entertainment.

“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,” he emphasised.

Neom is being developed to adopt a regulatory framework that fosters both technological and societal innovation in accordance with international best practices.

According to Prince Al Saud, investors, businesses and innovators will be consulted for projects development to create an economic framework, design the urban plans and attract quality talent.

“A new concept for the workforce will be implemented, based on attracting high-calibre human resources with unique competencies for full-time innovation, decision making and business leadership,” he further stated reporting to the press.

With the project, the government of Saudi Arabia, the PIF and local and international investors are expected to put more than half a trillion dollars into it in coming years, thus creating more investment opportunities in the country.

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