Finding NEOM: A $25B Middle East Utopian City

Finding NEOM: A $25B Middle East Utopian City

It’s 2025. Welcome to Neom, a $500 billion, zero-energy, mega-city connecting Asia, Europe and Africa. Neom is built from scratch on 10,231 square acres  (33 times the size of New York) on previously untouched land in the northwestern region of Saudi Arabia. Neom includes territory from within the Egyptian and Jordanian borders.

It’s primary industries are energy, water, biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing and entertainment. Only wind and solar energy will power this mega-city. Zero fossil fuels.

Neom is an independent zone, with its own regulations and social norms, created specifically to be in service of economic progress and the well-being of its citizens, in the hopes of attracting the world’s top talent and making Neom a hub of trade, innovation and creativity,Repetitive tasks being outsourced to robots or fully automated.

Neom is Saudi Arabia’s answer to a future without oil. The 32 year-old  Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has mega-plans to transform its economy from being completely dependant on petro-dollars and influenced by “extremism” version of Islam. His commitment is to the moderate version of Islam practiced thirty years ago. To back up his pledge to religious and political moderation, he said Neom will  be developed to be independent of the Kingdom’s existing governmental framework, including taxation, customs and labor laws (excluding sovereign laws pertaining to the military and foreign policy).

The Crown Prince is seen as the driving force behind Saudi Vision 2030, which includes the mega-city Neom, that aims to woo foreign investors and find private employment opportunities for the country’s population, of which 70 per cent are young, under the age of 30.

$500 billion has already been committed to the construction of Neom, with its first phase expected to be completed in 2025. The city will be owned by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, overseen by a special authority, chaired by Prince Mohammed bin Salman.