“The most ambitious project in the world” is beckoning the globe’s finest entrepreneurial and scientific minds, most talented craftspeople, and deepest-pocketed international investors to develop a self-contained city of the future.
Introduced in October 2017 by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the proposed 10,230-square-mile economic zone on the northwestern border of the kingdom will attempt to make Saudi Arabia a nexus for technological and economic modernization. The $500 billion zone encompasses the kingdom, Jordan, and Egypt, and will be funded by the Public Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth fund owned by Saudi Arabia, as well as by a host of international investors.
The NEOM vision is one of a tantalizing blank slate where the best and brightest converge to “write humanity’s next chapter” whilst living in perfect harmony in an idyllic cosmopolitan enclave on the Red Sea.
According to Al Arabiya the first three characters “NEO” comes from the Latin word which means “new”. The fourth character “M” is the abbreviation of the Arabic word “Mostaqbal” which means “future.” The development promises life-changing innovation in eight spheres: energy and water, mobility, biotech, advanced manufacturing, technological and digital sciences, food and drink, media, and entertainment.
Nearly a year post-intro, little of substance is known about the execution of the project, apart from the choice of ex-Arconic CEO Klaus Kleinfeld to helm it. The moderate, modern, and inclusive society that bin Salman is shopping to investors has generated significant interest: the Russian Direct Investment Fund reportedly will invest billions in the venture, as will Japan’s SoftBank. More