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Saudi Arabia to build $500 billion city in desert

Saudi Arabia
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Saudi Arabia intends to build a new futuristic city, a huge industrial zone in its northeast to integrate with regional economies – Egypt & Jordan – and to consolidate its Vision 2030 of turning “Desert Kingdom” into a modern society.

Under the enthusiastic leadership of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has announced a return to a ‘more moderate Islam’. The Kingdom is continuing to bring the revolutionary changes in the economic and cultural life of its citizens under the Vision 2030.

During a hugely influential and promising Riyadh’s Future Investment Initiative conference, the Saudi Kingpin announced that he would be prepared to “destroy” extremist ideologies to put the country in harmony with the nations around the world.

The highlight of the conference was the announcement of the $500 billion “Neom” plan to build a huge industrial zone which will link the KSA with Egypt and Jordan. It is the independent economic zone in the northwestern region of the country, comprising of untouched land along the Red Sea.

If KSA is to make Vision 2030 a reality, it must accomplish dreams like “Neom.” Its current foreign policy is dangerous for the region’s stability as it continues to play with fire and never acknowledges the powers like Iran residing at its doorsteps.

This futuristic city is envisioned to run entirely on alternative sources of energy. This project is believed to be financed by the multiple sources including sovereign wealth fund, the Saudi government and a range of private and international investors.

The conference was attended by high profile dignitaries and chief executive officers from around the world. Some of the A-listers included Christine Lagarde, IMF Managing Director, CEO Masayoshi Son-SoftBank Group Corp, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, and some  3,000 business people, investors, and officials from dozens of countries.

Speaking at the conference, the powerful prince, stated that, “This (Neom) will be a place for the dreamers of the world.”

The Kingdom in the pre-Prince era was considered as a backward, ultra-conservative, too rigid, and bureaucratic. The arrival of the Crown Prince has brought many welcome transformations. The conservative society of the country under its absolute monarchy had a ban on woman driving until earlier this month when the Saudi government announced that it would be revoked.

Currently, the two-thirds of Saudis work for government generating 70% of the country’s revenue, and in the next decade or so, approximately, 5 million young Saudis will enter the workforce, which would require a rapid job creation.

This change is part of the recent modernity reforms announced by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Young prince, son of King Salman, is seen as a symbol of change in a traditionally conservative country. He and his supporters intend to change the image of Saudi Arabia across the world.

His significant achievement has been drafting a vision for 2030 and leading the country as a reformist, aiming high to transform the fortunes of the oil-dependent nation. With his promotion to the higher rank indicates the King’s trust in his vision to modernize and revamp the Kingdom’s economy.

The Vision 2030 is of utmost importance given the economic stability and prosperity of KSA going forward to ensure that adequate funding is available to bear the expenditures on looming wars, to set aside any expected rebellion and conflicts in the war-torn region.

Read more: Saudi Arabia Eases restrictions on messaging apps, but WhatsApp and Viber…

In Vision 2030, it is stated that it aims to make KSA an epicenter of trade and gateway to the world utilizing its geographical existence by connecting three continents. Next year, the KSA is seeking to raise $100 billion by selling 5% shares of state oil giant Saudi Aramco. The company is expected to be valued at between 1-2 trillion dollars.

Young prince, son of King Salman, is seen as a symbol of change in a traditionally conservative country. He and his supporters intend to change the image of Saudi Arabia across the world.

In the vision 2030, the Kingdom has ambitious targets of creating 6 million jobs in the non-oil sector. Currently, the two-thirds of Saudis work for government generating 70% of the country’s revenue, and in the next decade or so, approximately, 5 million young Saudis will enter the workforce, which would require a rapid job creation.

The projects like Neom are precisely aimed at creating the targeted jobs. It is expected to be a futuristic ‘traffic less’ place where, driverless cars, drones, and robotics will all work together.

Read more: Ascendance of Prince Salman: Saudi Arabia’s rise or demise?

If KSA is to make Vision 2030 a reality, it must accomplish dreams like “Neom.” Its current foreign policy is dangerous for the region’s stability as it continues to play with fire and never acknowledges the powers like Iran residing at its doorsteps. It must diversify and revive its economy to give itself a chance to become a regional power.


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