SEATTLE, Washington — Since the discovery of oil in the late 1930s, Saudi Arabia’s economy has changed dramatically. The country became the largest supplier of petroleum in the world as a result. It is now one of the richest countries in the Arab region. The Saudis enjoy generally good living conditions compared to other Arab countries. Although Saudi Arabia is struggling to overcome
poverty and other issues that ravage parts of its community, a future vision is also coming to light
and bringing changes. When oil prices decreased drastically in 2015, affecting the revenue budget of the country, Prince Mohammed bin Salman came up with Vision 2030. The vision will wean the country off of oil as the main wheel of the economy and replace it with such initiatives as the future city Neom, which is expected to transform Saudi society.
Neom’s Goal on Fighting Poverty in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has a population of 34 million; the statistics show that more than 20% of its population is poor. The kingdom uses charities to solve its poverty issue along with its National Poverty Reduction Strategy and the Supplementary Support Programs that King Abdullah established back in 2005 to send a monthly payment to low-income households.
However, the hope is that the future city Neom will decrease poverty. Neom’s goal along with the 2030 plan is to create 380,000 jobs with an increase of $48 billion of the country’s GPD. Thus, the future city Neom will change Saudi society and enhance the quality of their lives.
Neom Tourism’s Focus
The Mega-city will cover more than 10,230 squares miles with an investment fund of more than $500 billion. The future city Neom will be located in northwest Saudi Arabia, making it the first city in the kingdom that shares borders with both Egypt and Jordan.
The city will include:
- Jurassic Island Park with robotic dinosaurs
- An artificial mega moon to light the desert city
- The Red Sea beaches sand glowing in the dark
- A world-famous hub of E-gaming events
Technology-driven and Profoundly Ecological
Based on the Neom website, the city will rely completely on clean energy. The board of directors of the city project explained in the announcement that Neom is “a city of a million residents with a length of 170km that preserves 95% of nature within NEOM, with zero cars, zero streets and zero carbon emissions.” Since the future city Neom is located in a dry desert area, artificial cloud technology will reinforce the rainfall necessary for the city and make its climate milder. Furthermore, the city will have holographic teachers in its classrooms, making it a pioneer in the field of education. The project’s agents also reveal that cars will be for enjoyment only whereas flying taxis will be the main transportation in the city.
What is done so far in Neom?
- Saudi Arabia appointed several global consultancy companies to consult in 2017.
- Neom Bay, the first phase of construction in the mega-city, began in 2019.
- As Neom airport is almost completed it is officially recognized as an international airport.
- Prince Mohammed Bin Salman announced in 2018 that Neom will be finished within seven years.
The future city Neom will transform the life of Saudi society as a whole and reduce poverty in particular. The Saudi 2030 plan and Neom city project plan aim to shift the economy from reliance on oil to relying completely on high-tech industries. The education system, tourism and other sectors will all be technology-driven. On top of that, the city will depend on clean energy that will improve environmental conditions and reduce carbon emissions.
– Zineb Williams