1,000 square kilometers of pristine Sinai desert intended to function as part of an ambitious mega-city vision titled NEOM.
In the latest move to demonstrate increasingly strong Egyptian-Saudi relations, it was announced that Cairo would allocate 1,000 square kilometers of pristine Sinai desert intended to function as part of an audaciously ambitious mega-city vision, somewhat equally audaciously titled NEOM.
This $500 million project, allegedly the brainchild of the Kingdom’s forward-thinking new reformer-in-chief Mohammed bin Salman (or MBS as he is rather affectionately known), is intended to demonstrate a futuristic vision for the region that will transcend nations, borders and traditional customs in a momentous confluence of material wealth, infrastructure, biotechnology, energy, manufacturing and tourism.
The Crown Prince’s visit to Egypt this week, partly arranged to herald the official announcement of the project, saw the Red Sea territory earmarked as part of a joint-fund worth over $10 billion. NEOM’s vision is to encompass territories across Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and Riyadh has encouragingly proposed their partnership’s goal will be to assist monetarily with the development of Egypt’s existing resort communities in the peninsula, which are still reeling from the adverse effects of a persistently volatile security situation.
The Middle Eastern triumvirate led by Riyadh are hoping to accomplish would-be groundbreaking regional feats that include, setting up over 50 resorts across four small cities, attracting European cruise companies in winter, building yacht marinas and outlining nature reserves by introducing environmental protocol, in addition to attracting major foreign investment in the process (Japan’s Softbank have already proposed their willingness to).
As the region looks ever-longingly to a more prosperous future, NEOM might just be the long sought after project that adequately encapsulates and executes the bold vision of a fresh generation of Arab and Middle Eastern youth that are resolutely different in their newfound innovation and ambition in terms of their contribution to the modern world.