All the latest news from the $500bn mega-city in the desert

Edelman Joins Neom As Gurus For Comms, PR And More

Edelman agreed this month to provide communications services to Neom, the $500B mega-city that is the linchpin of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to diversify the Kingdom’s oil-based economy.

Fees for strategic counsel, media relations, stakeholder engagement and content development are capped at $75K per-month under the pact that runs through February.

A formal contract between the No. 1 independent PR firm and Neom, which is owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, is currently under negotiation.

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NEOM begins working from new HQ in NEOM itself

NEOM has begun working from its brand new headquarters a move which will accelerate the pace of growth of the $500bn super project.  More than 450 employees are now based at the new HQ, which is 170-kilometres from Tabuk. That number will increase to 700 by the end of the year.

For those unaware, NEOM is the hugely ambitious project based in Saudi Arabia that will see an area the size of Belgium developed to become a smart city. The ambitious project will hope to be a hub for international innovation and cooperation.  The company will continue to have an office in Riyadh, but the real fun will be had from the new HQ.

Speaking about the move, NEOM CEO Nadhmi Al Nasr said “The relocation of our headquarters to NEOM is an important milestone in our journey and will act as a springboard for growth.”

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Aecom wins a major design project for Saudi Arabia’s NEOM ‘city of the future’

America’s largest design engineering firm, Aecom, has been appointed to handle the design and support of the “backbone infrastructure” for Saudi Arabia’s NEOM.   Aecom’s President, Lara Poloni, commented on the contract, saying: “We are excited to be playing such a pivotal part in delivering one of the world’s largest and most complex infrastructure projects”.

She then went on to say: “As the centerpiece of Saudi Vision 2030, NEOM will become one of the world’s leading destinations to attract talent and investment and drive economic change in the Kingdom.”

“Our global multi-disciplinary team of experts will bring together a diverse set of skills to deliver a sustainable project that will connect communities and create thousands of jobs across Saudi Arabia.”

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Ancient art engravings - an open museum of history, overlook NEOM

Alluring majestic mountains, apparently carrying in their folds an open museum of history with vast treasures of rock inscriptions and ancient Islamic writings, overlook Saudi Arabia’s ambitious NEOM project in the northwestern Tabuk region.

There are numerous mountainous regions with rock artworks and inscriptions that date back to different chronological periods, ranging from the Paleolithic to the Islamic period. These rock arts adorn the mountains and heights of the Hasma hilltops, located within the Bajda mountains west of the Tabuk region.

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NEOM Intends to Find Partner for Neom City

NEOM executives attended London’s Tech Week looking to find partners for its $500bn Neom City.  Moath Alzahrani, Smart Cities Domain Lead told executives at London’s Tech Week event that “The drive behind all these opportunities is that smart cities will help Saudi Arabia. Smart Cities will create jobs in the public and private sector, increase non-oil revenues and enhance liveability and sustainability.”

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Saudi Arabia's Red Sea Int'l bags $34.9m worth contracts for NEOM

Tadawul-listed Red Sea International Company has secured two contracts worth $34.9m (AED131m) for Saudi Arabia’s $500bn (SAR1.9tn) NEOM gigaproject, backed by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), to design-build and install accommodation units, offices, and all supporting building amenities.  In a stock market filing, the company said that the first contract worth $20.8m (SAR78m) covers engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) works. 

The company said that the contract’s duration will be for four months starting from the contract date.

Red Sea International Company said that the financial impact of the contract will be “represented in generating revenue and profits that are recorded over the period beginning from Q4 2020 until Q1 2021”.

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NEOM Selects Bechtel to Accelerate Work on $500bn future city

NEOM has selected Bechtel to accelerate primary infrastructure development for its Cognitive Cities. It has awarded a contract to the U.S.-based global industry leader for executive project management work.

Saudi Arabia is building the crossborder city NEOM, a US$500 billion futuristic mega-project deep in a desert bordering the Red Sea — the Kingdom says “it will be 33 times the size of New York City with plans for flying cars and robot dinosaurs”, according to a report in Business Insider.  Besides Bechtel, Aecom, SNC Lavalin are also in the US$500 billion project.

“Blueprints obtained by the Wall Street Journal detail wild plans for artificial rain, a fake moon, robotic maids, and holographic teachers. Phase one is due for completion in 2020, with the final brick laid in 2025.”

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Saudi Arabia's construction sector is powering Vision 2030

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, it was reported that the infrastructure and construction industry in Saudi Arabia was amongst the largest in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, with more than $825 billion worth of planned and unawarded projects. The industry had seen growth in the contracts awarded – from $11.2 billion in 2016 to $14.6 billion in 2018.

With increased focus from both the private and public sector, the need for infrastructure and construction development will continue to grow in line with Vision 2030. As the Kingdom further opens the leisure and hospitality market, the ease of travel to the Kingdom will continue to drive growth in the hospitality sector.

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Middle East AI centre proposed amid $300bn tech boom with NEOM leading the way

Tech experts have proposed creating a new artificial intelligence ‘centre of excellence’ in the Middle East to capitalise on an anticipated $300bn boom in the emerging industry.  Dr. Jassim Haji, president of the Artificial Intelligence Society Bahrain, predicted that new AI-based roles will begin appearing within the next year amid a regional surge in the use of automation.  

It comes after international audit firm PwC predicted that the AI sector will contribute $300bn to the Middle East economy by 2030, fueled by mega-projects and a new wave of innovation.

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Green Building Technology in Saudi Arabia: Tech as the enabler of NEOM & Vision 2030

"Although oil and gas are essential pillars of our economy, we have begun expanding our investments into additional sectors. Diversifying our economy is vital for its sustainability". Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman made this statement in 2016, while unveiling Vision 2030, an ambitious strategic framework to diversify the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's economy. 

The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Jeddah became the country's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building in 2009. Today, Saudi Arabia accounts for 15% of green building projects in the Arab world, including the highest concentration of gold and platinum LEED-certified buildings.

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Is Saudi Arabia’s Ambitious Vision 2030 Plan Dead?

A $500-billion smart city. A $200-billion solar farm. Billions of dollars in investments in gas and petrochemicals. These were all facets of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 - perhaps the most ambitious economic diversification in the world. Now, that ambition is in tatters. Can Saudi Arabia pick up the pieces and truly diversify its economy away from oil, or are its plans dead in the water, leaving the Kingdom’s survival forever tied to oil revenues?

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