Egypt signs $10bn deal with Saudi Arabia to support Neom project

Egypt is seeking investment from Saudi Arabia to help develop the Suez Canal region, where Cairo wants to establish an international transport, logistics and production hub. (SPA)
Updated 06 March 2018
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Egypt signs $10bn deal with Saudi Arabia to support Neom project

CAIRO: Egypt will allow stretches of land in the southern Sinai to be used for Saudi Arabia’s planned megacity Neom project announced by the Kingdom last October.
The agreement forms part of a $10 billion joint investment fund the two countries signed during the visit to Cairo this week by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a Saudi official.
The size of the committed land is said to be more than 1,000 square kilometers.
Saudi Arabia’s 26,500-square-kilometer Neom project is to focus on industries including water and energy, food, media, advanced manufacturing, biotechnology and entertainment.
It forms part of the country’s Vision 2030 growth strategy which aims to diversify the country away from its reliance on oil.
The project will run along the coast of the Red Sea as well as the Gulf of Aqaba. Its borders will extend across Egyptian and Jordanian borders, making it the first private economic zone to span three countries.
The megacity project plans to pioneer the latest technologies including automated driving, passenger drones, the use of robots and developing new ways of growing and processing food.
The project is expected to attract more than $500 billon of investment from the Saudi government, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) and international investors. Neom’s contribution to the Kingdom’s GDP is projected to reach $100 billion.
As part of the newly signed Egypt-Saudi joint venture, Saudi Arabia is to build seven cities and tourism projects, while Egypt will focus on developing the existing resorts of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada.
Saudi Arabia is said to be working with Egypt and Jordan on attracting more European cruise and tourism companies active in the Mediterranean to consider operating in the Red Sea as well. An official said the Kingdom was currently negotiating with more than seven tourism-related operators.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia also signed an agreement during the Crown Prince’s visit to protect the marine environment and to maintain coral reefs and beaches in the Red Sea area.
Separately, Saudi Arabia announced last August it was planning to develop 50 luxury resorts on islands and other sites on the Red Sea, backed by PIF. Construction of this development is expected to start in 2019 and be completed in 2022, according to state news agency reports.
The Crown Prince arrived in Cairo on Sunday, meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to discuss future cooperation in tackling terrorism and regional insecurity as well as how to strength business ties between the two countries.
The crown prince also met with Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II in the first such visit by a Saudi official to the spiritual center of the country’s Orthodox Christian community. He also met Egypt’s top Islamic official, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, and saw a performance at the Cairo Opera.
Prince Mohammed is scheduled to arrive in the UK on Wednesday to meet British government officials.


Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

A photo taken on July 5, 2018, shows Bader al-Ajmi, 38,(L) owner of "One Way Burger" serving customers from his truck at a main street in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

  • The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017

JEDDAH: A major economic boost in the form of 10 major projects and investments exceeding SR685 billion ($183 billion) were unveiled as celebrations of the 88th Saudi National Day got under way.
The Council of Saudi Chambers released a report focusing on great economic achievements in 2017.
These projects reflect the Kingdom’s vision under the wise leadership of King Salman and that of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide a brighter future through diversifying sources of national income, tackling environmental challenges and increasing investment and prosperity.
The report summarized the most important events and economic developments in the Kingdom over the past year. These include the lifting of the ban on women driving in June, and the establishment of the General Authority for Cyber Security, in addition to the numerous royal decrees providing financial support to Saudis.
It also noted the important decisions related to the Saudi business sector. These include the launch of a private sector incentive program with a value of SR72 billion, the privatization of 10 government sectors and the establishment of the General Authority for Real Estate. The private sector is still showing a strong performance as an efficient partner in the inclusive development process and in the achievement of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, the report noted, as it contributes 39 percent to the Saudi gross domestic product (GDP).
The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017. There has been increased contribution to GDP from non-oil private sector streams.
The private sector also witnessed an increase in the number of workers, in its capital, in the number of shares on the Saudi market, in the cumulative number of establishments operating in the Kingdom, and in non-oil exports.
Continued growth of the private sector was attributed by the report to the Saudi government’s support. This support comes through initiatives such as the removal of obstacles to financial development, improvements to the working environment and policies adopted to boost investment.
It also reviewed the private sector’s efforts to support diversification of the economy and lower unemployment rates.
The importance of the measures taken to prioritize the employment of qualified Saudi workers over the employment of expatriates in the private sector were stressed, as well as the sector’s role in providing education and health services.