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.


Center for Government Communication launched for 88th Saudi National Day

Updated 44 min 35 sec ago
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Center for Government Communication launched for 88th Saudi National Day

  • The CGC aims to highlight the achievements of the nation in a year to achieve the desired impact and strengthen the national identity of individuals, enhance pride in National Day.
  • Minister of Media Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad: The progress made in consolidating the media discourse has been very visible.

RIYADH:  Minister of Media Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad announced on Thursday the inauguration of the unified media center for the 88th National Day at a ceremony held in Riyadh, attended by a large number of journalists, the leaders of the Ministry of Media and official spokespersons of the participating government bodies.
He affirmed that the progress made in consolidating the media discourse, as well as the growing integration and coordination among the governmental bodies, has been very visible.
Al-Awwad added that those who walk in the streets of the Kingdom understand this through the unified visual identity of the streets of Saudi cities and buildings on the occasion of National Day.
He said that “the success we are witnessing today could not have been achieved without the guidance, support and confidence of our wise leadership, God, and the cooperation, support, and commitment of government officials” adding that everyone is a partner in work and in achieving success.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Maghlouth, Ministry of Information spokesman and director-general of the Center for Government Communication (CGC), said that the number of publications that were circulated marking Saudi’s 88th National Day in the media and social networking sites reached 221,000.
He added that about 2,000 journalists participated in the National Day through the platform of the center. He pointed to the digital platform “Tawareel” as one of the initiatives of the CGC in the Ministry of Media to enhance achieve greater coordination between the center and government agencies.
Those figures showed that the center was on the right track and that coordination was increasing day by day. The national media plan for the National Day for the first time created a unified visual and verbal identity for Saudi National Day 88. It also coordinated the efforts of various governmental agencies and the private sector through the establishment of a unified media center that brings together the participants in this event to ensure commitment to identity and the unification of media messages.
The CGC aims to highlight the achievements of the nation in a year to achieve the desired impact and strengthen the national identity of individuals, enhance pride in National Day, and interact with its activities and programs and initiatives.
Al-Maghlooth said that the inauguration ceremony of the CGC for the 88th National Day was a long process which had begun to bear fruit at the beginning of this year when the Ministry of Information announced the establishment of the governmental and international communication centers as strategic initiatives to adopt the best media practices worldwide.
He pointed out that one objective was a united media message: Through strengthening coordination and information integration between government agencies. CGC will be providing support through training and development, preparing strategic plans and information campaigns, crisis management, and providing monitoring, analysis, data and information.
Al-Maghlooth explained what the Ministry of Media had achieved since the launch of the centers of government and international communication in early 2018; a qualitative leap as illustrated by the statistics.
He said that the Kingdom hosted more than 818 international journalists from more than 100 countries who participated in covering the Hajj and highlighting it in proportion to its important status and the Kingdom’s great efforts.
The achievements and figures confirm that the center and other government entities work together well and will continue to make progress with the guidance, support and care of the country’s leadership, and with the cooperation and continuous support of the government bodies, to achieve the goals and aspirations of Vision 2030, which reaches the sky.