This place is not for conventional people
Pushing ahead his Vision 2030, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has unveiled plan to float the $500 billion mega-city on financial markets alongside oil giant Saudi Aramco. This is part of kingdom’s drive to diversify away from oil.
According to Arab News, the 26,500-square km business and industrial zone, named Neom, will extend into Jordan and Egypt. The Crown Prince chose to unveil the mega plan at a three-day Future Investment Initiative, conference being held in Riyadh on Wednesday. Nearly 4,000 delegates from around the world have participated in the conference.
Earlier on Tuesday Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had pledged to destroy “extremist ideologies” and return to a moderate Islam that is open to all religions.
The daily considered to be the mouthpiece of the Kingdom said, “The surprise announcement is the latest — and most extraordinary — in a slate of privatization programs led by the floating of oil giant Saudi Aramco. The sales are designed to boost the Saudi economy and create jobs for millions of young people.”
To be situated adjacent to Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba and near maritime trade routes of Suez Canal, the proposed mega city will serve as a gateway to the proposed King Salman Bridge, which will link Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Neom will be independent of Saudi regulation and will adopt a “separate regulatory framework.” The Crown Prince was quoted saying, “This place is not for conventional people or conventional companies. This will be a place for the dreamers of the world.”
The mega city will be fully owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund (PIF) until its listing, and will attract investments from companies in renewable energy, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing and entertainment.
Attracting foreign investors the Crown Prince said, “Without a doubt, at the end of the day Neom will be floated in the markets. The first zone floated in the public markets. It’s as if you float the city of New York.”
“It won’t be listed in the markets until the idea is mature enough,” he said. “It might be after 2030, it might be before, but the idea and the strategy is to float it eventually.”
One of the Saudi media outlets says that the project was part of the Vision 2030 plan to overhaul the economy of Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest producer, and provide jobs for an overwhelmingly young population amid a global oil price decline since 2014.
Earlier in August this year Saudi Arabia had unveiled an enormous tourism project spanning more than 160 kms of the Red Sea coastline that will include transformation of 50 untouched islands into “an exquisite luxury tourism destination”.