Saudi’s PIF begins work on $500bn futuristic city

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF) is set to begin development of Neom, the $500 billion futuristic city which has become a key part of the government’s Vision 2030 economic reform plan. The fund’s founding board has approved the master plan for the first phase of the project, an eco-friendly tourist resort Neom Bay and construction is set to begin in the first quarter of 2019 and scheduled to be completed in 2020. In addition, the government has approved a plan to establish Neom as a joint-stock company to be run by PIF and led by Nadhmi Al Nasr, a Saudi executive with a track record of leading so-called mega-projects.   The change in legal status is designed to make the project more suitable for foreign investment, stated Al Nasr. It will enable the company to set up 16 economic zones covering energy, water, tourism, food, biotech, manufacturing, media and health and well-being. In addition to the development of new tourist detinations, the Neom development plan also includes a new network of airports and seaports as well as industrial areas and creative and innovation centres which the Saudi regime hopes will attract foreign investment and help reduce its dependency on oil revenue. ©2019 funds global mena

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