NEOM Project Location (Photo: NEOM official website)
The official Twitter account of the NEOM project announced on Sunday that the Advisory Board, which will include "a team of the world's leading minds and experts combining the best and brightest global experts to develop the future," will be announced soon.
"NEOM is ensuring that the foundations, plans, and people are in place before construction," the official Twitter account of the project said.
The statement added that the master plan of the project is in the development phase, along with the assessing environmental conditions, and evaluating bids for the construction of the accommodation and offices for engineers and supervisors.
NEOM is a planned 26,500 square kilometre economic and transitional zone slated to be constructed in northwestern Saudi Arabia, extended along the Aqaba Gulf with 468 km of coastline with coral reefs and beaches, as well as mountains up to 2,500 metres high. The industrial and business city will also link Egypt and Jordan.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi accepted the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz to have a meeting in the area of the NEOM project on 14 August 2018.
During the meeting, they discussed the recent developments in the region, its national security, and the mutual interests between both countries. The meeting was also attended by several ministers and princes including the Head of the Egyptian General Intelligence, Abbas Kamel.
The city was announced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman at the Future Investment Initiative Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on October 24, 2017, stating that the city will operate independently from the existing governmental framework with its own taxes, labor laws, and autonomous judicial system.
The initiative is part of “Saudi Vision 2030”, which seeks to reduce the dependence of Saudi Arabia's economy on oil and move towards a highly technologically driven economy, especially after the recent decrease of oil prices. The first phase of the project is scheduled for completion by 2025.
The project will be funded by $500 billion from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and international investors.
The city, which has an attractive location between three continents, along with potential use of renewable energy from the sun and wind, and a temperate Mediterranean climate, is projected to be a global hub for trade, innovation, and knowledge by bringing professional experts in fields like energy, technological and digital sciences, and biotech together.
NEOM is expected to rival the world’s most prominent cities in quality of life metrics and standards of living upon its completion.