Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, plans to create an artificial city of 26,000 square kilometres in the Gulf of Aqaba, adjacent to the Red Sea and near the commercial routes of the Suez Canal. Amongst his plans is the idea of using the latest technologies and inventing those that do not yet exist, as well as relying exclusively upon renewable energy, in a project that aims to be a world reference in the field. “A place for the dreamers of the world,” he said in the 2017 presentation speech.
In this fantasy city called Neom, a name formed by joining neo (new in Latin) and mostaqbal (future in Arabic), we will find flying cars, an artificial moon that illuminates the place regardless of the weather, a population of robot dinosaurs, beaches with sands that glow in the dark, artificial clouds that bring rainfall to the desert, a world-leading education taught to children by holographic teachers, luxury restaurants, and even a Silicon Valley that houses the headquarters of multinationals specializing in genetic editing.
With this project, Bin Salman intends to diversify the country’s economy, currently dependent on oil, its main resource and source of income. Concerned about the falls in the price of this raw material produced in recent times, with this ambitious initiative the prince seeks to face up to the uncertainty in the world economy.
According to a report published by The Wall Street Journal, building the colossal city of Neom will require an investment of $500 billion. Part of this investment is expected to come from the IPO of the state oil company, Aramco, whilst another substantial part is expected to arrive through large foreign capital investors.