Desert City Dream
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Has a Bold Plan to Diversify the Country's Economy
Saudi Arabia's leaders have been talking about economic diversification for years. But with oil prices stubbornly low for years and the country's young people facing a 32 percent unemployment rate, the oil-producing kingdom is rolling out a new change management strategy to ensure future stability. Mohammed bin Salman, who became crown prince in June, is betting big on projects that break from the status quo. They're part of a 15-year plan of policy changes. The most audacious project is a US$500 billion megacity with no space "for anything traditional," Crown Prince Salman said during an announcement in October. The project, called Neom (meaning "new future"), will be powered by renewable energy and span 10,000 square miles (25,900 square kilometers) near the Red Sea — 33 times bigger than New York, New York, USA.