Saudi Arabia's $500bn NEOM project 'progressing well', says CEO

Nadhmi Al-Nasr says team behind Red Sea coast mega project is working 'day and night' to bring it to reality
Saudi Arabia's $500bn NEOM project 'progressing well', says CEO
The Saudi government says NEOM - billed as a regional silicon valley - will draw investments worth $500 billion from the kingdom's vast Public Investment Fund, as well as local and international investors.
By Sam Bridge
Sat 27 Oct 2018 05:26 PM

Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion NEOM project is progressing steadily, according to its CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr.

The mega project being built on the Red Sea coast, which was unveiled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last year, comprises a 26,500 sq km area in the far north-west of Saudi Arabia.

The project aims to create a global model in various spheres by focusing on advanced industries and technology, with robots being used for many services and power being generated solely from wind and solar energy.

The city is planned to operate independently from the “existing governmental framework” with its own tax and labour laws and an “autonomous judicial system”, according to initial announcements.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Al-Nasr said: “I have been leading tens of meetings behind closed doors here with all the partners we have been talking to over the past two years. And the emphasis of all these meetings is commitment and ‘let’s go’ and ‘let’s move on’.

“NEOM is the future look of the whole world, the wise people of the world see this as a opportunity for the whole world to turn its vision into reality. I am so proud of our partners.”

He said considerable progress has been made on the NEOM project over the past year, adding: “I can tell you that over the past 12 months there has been massive work. There is a team working day and night, going through the steps that we have to do to bring NEOM on the ground.

“Planning is the name of the game,” Al-Nasr said. “It is not a programme or a project that we can push through without doing the planning and the right process.”

He said: “Phase 1 is behind us... defining the vision, explaining the objectives and now in phase 2 we are identifying all the economic sectors of NEOM, all the living standards, all the living style and community. We are not just building an economy, we are building cities, towns.”

He said phase 2 is set to conclude in the second quarter of next year, when the project will enter the execution and construction stage.

“NEOM is one of the richest historical regions in the Kingdom and in the whole region. It is the meeting point of thousands of years of history of this region,” he said.

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