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Saudi Arabia’s $500bn NEOM project seeks collaboration with global contractors

NEOM has hosted nearly 150 design and construction companies as it seeks further contractors and investors for its giga green Red Sea project

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The four-day meeting brought together representatives from both local and international design and construction companies.

An introductory session introduced the ambitious project, which aims to overturn the concept of a conventional city and create a “revolution” in urban living. NEOM will feature sports and entertainment venues, and tourist destinations, alongside THE LINE, a belt of hyper-connected communities, powered by AI.

“NEOM is interested in the future of design and construction,” said Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO of NEOM. “[It] presents a positive image of how projects should be, especially since the size of the project requires strong partnerships between NEOM and the entire global industrial chain to translate the vision of NEOM on the ground.”

NEOM will preserve 95 percent of nature within its boundaries and promises to be carbon positive.

“The type of people that we want to build this future is exactly the dreamers and doers that are excited about exploring these types of new challenges,” said Peter Terium, Head of Energy Sector, NEOM, in a previous statement. “That’s what excites me most.”

Logistics park visit

The visitors were shown the logistics park, stretching over 12 sq-km. They also saw construction villages which house communities of up to 30,000 workers, alongside warehouses, offices and construction service facilities.

“What we witnessed in this meeting confirms the great interest in what we are aiming to achieve here in NEOM,” said Brett Smythe, Chief Projects Officer for NEOM. “This interest is not only related to the size of the project but also to the way the work is being implemented. We are serious about building NEOM in a completely different manner, and we are working to steer the sector towards technological progress, increased innovation, and efficiency.”

NEOM – a “bold and audacious dream”

NEOM is the ambitious new development in Saudi Arabia that, when completed, will be nearly as large as Belgium. The website calls it a “bold and audacious dream – a vision of what a New Future might look like.” It overlooks the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba and pledges that it will house a million residents in ‘carbon-positive urban developments’.

The development aims to create 380,000 jobs and add in income of $48 billion to GDP by 2030.

The world’s most competitive free zone

Saudi Arabia is seeking to diversify its economy away from oil and, in so doing, become the world’s most competitive free zone.

“NEOM is meant to be a model where this region will be a semi-independent free zone, it will have its own laws, it will have its own regulations and its own authority as a semi-government,” said Nadhmi Al-Nasr.

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