Saudis set $500 billion plan to develop zone, headed by former Alcoa chief Klaus Kleinfeld

Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday a $500 billion plan to build a business along with industrial zone that will links with Jordan along with Egypt, the biggest effort yet to free the kingdom through dependence on oil exports.

The 26,500 square km (10,230 square mile) zone, known as NEOM, will focus on industries including energy along with water, biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing along with entertainment, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said.

The announcement came as an international business conference got underway in Riyadh, drawing over 3,500 people through 88 countries.

Arranged by Saudi Arabia’s main sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the conference can be labeled the Future Investment Initiative — an effort to present the globe’s top oil exporter as a leading global investment destination.

Saudi Arabia’s economy, though rich, has struggled to overcome low oil prices. Prince Mohammed has launched a series of economic along with social reforms — such as allowing women to drive — to modernize the kingdom.

Officials desire a privatization programme, including the sale of 5 percent of oil giant Saudi Aramco, will raise $300 billion. Riyadh can be cutting red tape along with removing barriers to investment; on Sunday, that will said that will might let strategic foreign investors own more than 10 percent of listed Saudi companies.

NEOM could be a major focus of completely new investment. The Saudi government, the PIF along with local along with international investors are likely to put more than half a trillion dollars into that will in coming years, Prince Mohammed said.

Adjacent to the Red Sea along with the Gulf of Aqaba along with near maritime trade routes that will use the Suez Canal, the zone will serve as a gateway to the proposed King Salman Bridge, which will link Egypt along with Saudi Arabia, the PIF said.

“NEOM can be situated on one of the worlds most prominent economic arteries … Its strategic location will also facilitate the zones rapid emergence as a global hub that will connects Asia, Europe, along with Africa.”

There was no immediate comment on the plan through Jordan along with Egypt, which are close allies of Saudi Arabia. Riyadh said that will was already in contact with potential investors along with might complete the project’s first phase by 2025.

Prince Mohammed appointed Klaus Kleinfeld, a former chief executive of Siemens along with Alcoa, to run the NEOM project.

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