This post is part of an AGSIW series on Saudi Vision 2030, a sweeping set of programs and reforms adopted by the Saudi government to be implemented by 2030.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman envisions a new kind of Saudi Arabia, or at least the opening of a space complete with yoga studios, beach resorts, and robots in place of migrant laborers. This is the image of Neom, the $500 billion master project to develop an over 10,000 square mile swath of land in the northwest corner of Saudi Arabia on the shores of the Red Sea, adjacent to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and southern Jordan. The crown prince unveiled Neom, to be investor owned through an initial public offering on a yet to be named exchange, on October 24 in a slick presentation of the possibilities of an undiscovered Saudi Arabia, a kind of Saudi manifest destiny. A promised land to be shaped by new leadership and technology, its most important attribute is the ability to attract foreign investment and it is billed as “the world’s most ambitious project.” Neom is either overly ambitious or calibrating expectations early on.