What is NEOM? Know all about Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion mega-city project
Why in News?
In November 2020, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to Saudi Arabia to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The venue for the secret rendezvous was located in Neom, which is a futuristic megacity which is being built under the Prince’s close watch.
What is NEOM?
NEOM is being called as what 'New Future might look like' by Saudi Arabia. Neom is a portmanteau of the Greek word neos, meaning "new," and mustaqbal, the Arabic word for "future." It is a futuristic mega-city 33 times the size of New York City.
NEOM is being built on the Red Sea in northwest Saudi Arabia. It can be imagined as a place where entrepreneurship and innovation would frame the course for this New Future. The city is being marketed as a new model for sustainable living, working and prospering. Saudi officials describe it as "the world's most ambitious project."
Founder: Mohammad bin Salman
Date of commencement: 24 October 2017
NEOM: Significance and facts
- NEOM is a planned 16-borough city on the Red Sea coast in the northwestern Saudi province of Tabuk.
- Saudi Arabia has named it after the words New Future in an attempt to create something that has never been done before.
- A huge amount of more than 500 billion dollars are being invested in this dream project of the Saudi Prince.
- It has been planned such that all major cities across the world would be an 8-hour flight from NEOM
- The city is being built using artificial intelligence and clean energy sources.
- The city would consist of bullet trains and hyperloop but the residents would be encouraged for using bicycles
- NEOM’s climate provides un-rivalled complementary solar and wind potential through competitively priced renewable energy. The government of Saudi Arabia would build new industries and drive the next wave of the energy transition by producing green hydrogen.
- Leveraging low-cost clean energy and a carbon-free energy ecosystem from scratch, NEOM plans on developing energy-intensive industries with the potential to lead on a global scale.
- NEOM would build Digital Air which is free WiFi for all its residents.
- In January 2019, Saudi Arabia set up a company, also called Neom, to be the driving force behind the building effort.
- It hired three of the world's largest consultancy firms in 2017. These were McKinsey & Co, Boston Consulting, and Oliver Wyman.
What is the significance of NEOM?
The Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman has launched his Vision 2030 through which he wished to reduce the economy's dependence on crude oil. This is the time when NEOM came into the picture. It would house more than 1 million people and provide Saudi Arabia with another market than crude oil.
Futuristic Expectations from NEOM?
NEOM is lauded to be inclusive of the following:
- An economic engine for the world as many investments would reach the futuristic city
- It is based on the principles of environmental conservation
- It would provide an open laboratory for young entrepreneurs
- It is geographically rich as it includes mountains, coasts and deserts
- The state would have its own labour laws and a tax system which would be independent of the current Government of Saudi Arabia
- NEOM would be attracting the best of emerging and established talent from the world, with an unprecedented commitment to industry education, innovation and production activity, all in a uniquely collaborative environment
- It promises the residents and the investors with a lifestyle and livability that would be better than the world
- At night NEOM would possibly be illuminated by a giant artificial moon
- The Red Sea coastline is planned to be altered by the authorities. It would as per the plan, have glow-in-the-dark sand added to its beaches
- Blueprints obtained by the Wall Street Journal detail wild plans for artificial rain, robotic maids, and holographic teachers
- Neom is supposed to draw on "cloud seeding" technology to make artificial clouds which will produce more rainfall than naturally possible in the desert
The first part of the project is nearing its completion as stated by the Saudi authorities with the airport and the resorts already been built at the NEOM bay. The Saudi Government would also need to hold investors summits in order to attract investments in this futuristic city. As of now it seems a far fetched plan and would take a lot of time and effort to make such unique architectures.