The 386-square-mile mega-city called NEOM on land south of the Sinai Peninsula will begin to be built next year
A Saudi official confirmed this week that the vast new city, known as NEOM, will be more than 386 square miles in total.
The NEOM zone will sit in land south of the Sinai Peninsula close to Sharm El Sheikh
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wants NEOM’s industries to focus on tourism, water and food
The official told Reuters that the city will be built from a joint fund between Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan worth more than $10billion (£7.1billion).
The details of the project were announced during a visit to Cairo by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Prince Mohammed previously announced his plans for NEOM, at an international investment conference in Riyadh.
Officials said public and private investment in the area was eventually expected to total $500 billion (£359billion).
The proposed megacity will be powered entirely by wind and solar energy
The city will sit close to the maritime trade routes that use the Suez Canal
The mega-city will have its own judicial system separate from the strict Saudi Arabia – designed to attract international investors.
Its industries will focus on on energy, water, biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing and tourism.
It is part of a series of big moves by the prince to focus the country’s economy on other industries aside from oil exporting.
Saudi Arabia will also give cash to help develop the Egyptian side of NEOM.
The country plans to build seven cities and tourism projects on the land, while Egypt will focus on developing the existing resort cities of Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada, the Saudi official said.
The Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh will also have a cash injection and be revamped
The city will focus on the food, entertainment, energy and water, biotechnology and advanced manufacturing industries
The kingdom will also work with Egypt and Jordan to attract European cruise companies to operate in the Red Sea during the winter season.
Saudi Arabia is negotiating with seven cruise companies and aims to build yacht marinas there.
It will also set up 50 resorts and four small cities as part of a separate tourism initiative announced last August and backed by the country’s Public Investment Fund.
The Red Sea Project, made up of some 50 islands, will offer a nature reserve, diving on coral reefs and heritage sites.
Authorities have said it would begin work in 2019 and complete its first phase by late 2022.
Riyadh and Cairo also signed an environmental protocol on Sunday aimed at preserving the Red Sea’s coral reefs and preventing “visual pollution”, the official said.
The Saudi government has already asked local construction companies to build five palaces in NEOM.
Some international companies, including Japan’s Softbank, have said they are prepared to invest there.Tags:egypt, sharm, sheikh