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Saudi Arabia may scale down huge construction projects

  • June 24, 2024
  • 2 min read
Saudi Arabia may scale down huge construction projects

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in July 2023 that they will “keep proving” the critics wrong when discussing the scepticism around the country’s flagship construction plans. But a year later and it seems the doubters’ predictions may come true.

In recent months, the kingdom has begun to scale back some of its plans for a vast desert development project. Known as Neom, it was to be the centrepiece of Vision 2030, the economic diversification programme spearheaded by the crown prince, the de-facto ruler of the Gulf state. It was to help the country’s economy move away from oil-dependency.

Along with Neon, Saudi Arabia had also planned 13  other large construction schemes or “giga projects” at a cost of trillions of dollars. These would have included an entertainment city on the outskirts of Riyadh, the capital, multiple luxury island resorts on the Red Sea, and a cluster of other tourism as well as cultural destinations.

But with oil prices dropping, government revenues have been affected. This has forced the government to reconsider its plans and look to new strategies for funding. One adviser told the BBC that the projects would be reviewed and a decision will be made soon.

“The decision will be based on multiple factors,” he says. “But there is no doubt that there will be a recalibration. Some projects will proceed as planned, but some might get delayed or scaled down.”

Neom was announced in 2017. The plan, at a cost of $500 billion or £394 billion, would be to build 10 futuristic cities in a desert region in the north-western part of the country. Among them was The Line, a linear city consisting of too, adjoined, parallel skyscrapers standing 500m high.

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