Neom (styled NEOM; Arabic: نيوم Niyūm) is a planned 10,230-square-mile (26,500 sq km) transnational city and economic zone to be constructed in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia close to the border region of Saudi Arabia and Egypt (via a proposed bridge across the Straits of Tiran via Tiran Island). Neom is alternatively known as “Nowesa” Arabic: نويسا, a slang shortening of “North West Saudi Arabia” (NoWeSA) in reference to the planned city’s location.
Inaugural of the project
The city was announced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on October 24, 2017. He said it will operate independently from the “existing governmental framework” with its own tax and labor laws and an “autonomous judicial system.”
The initiative emerged from Saudi Vision 2030, a plan that seeks to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors. Ghanem Nuseibeh told Inverse that the Saudi intention was “..to shift from oil to high tech and put Saudi kingdom at the forefront of technological advances. This is the post-oil era. These countries are trying to flourish beyond oil exporting and the ones who don’t will be left behind.” The German Klaus Kleinfeld, former chairman and CEO of Alcoa Inc., and former president and CEO of Siemens AG, will direct the development of the city. Plans call for robots to perform functions such as security, logistics, home delivery, and caregiving and for the city to be powered solely with wind and solar power. Because the city will be designed and constructed from scratch, other innovations in infrastructure and mobility have been suggested. Planning and construction will be initiated with $500 billion from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and international investors. The first phase of the project is scheduled for completion by 2025.