DAVOS: Saudi Arabia’s NEOM smart city project will provide the Kingdom, and the world, with a new model for environmentally friendly and sustainable urban design, according to Adel Al-Jubeir, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs and climate affairs envoy.
Speaking on Friday during a panel discussion titled “The Evolution of Urban Life” at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, he told delegates that NEOM represents a major step toward building environmentally friendly and sustainable cities with a high quality of life and almost no traffic congestion. The Line, a futuristic linear city without streets, cars or emissions, which is part of the wider NEOM project, will add a whole new dimension to the concept of smart cities and urban planning, he added.
Meanwhile, during a session on “Reorganizing Value Chains,” Khalid Al-Falih, the Saudi minister of investment, talked about what the Kingdom hopes to achieve with its recently launched National Initiative for Global Supply Chains. He said it aims to enhance the flexibility of local and global supply chains “and to enable the Kingdom to become a global hub by taking advantage of our strengths.”
During a panel discussion about “Industry and the World of Metaverse,” Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha said: “The current two-dimensional world we live in today does not keep pace with the goals of the 21st century.
“I am a strong supporter of the metaverse, which will drive the next wave of amazing experiences for customers, businesses and industry and will bring together academics, innovators and policymakers in an experimental environment to ensure they work in a safe environment for innovation.”
Meanwhile, Faisal Alibrahim, the minister of economy and planning, said during the gathering in Davos that Saudi Arabia is in a good position to surpass predicted growth levels for this year.
“The Kingdom today is an example of global growth, as we achieved the fastest growth among the G20 countries last year, and if we look closely at the (gross domestic product), which grew by 8.5 percent, we will see that our non-oil activities and our private-sector economy have reached very high growth rates,” he said.
Alibrahim also contributed to a panel discussion on global tax reform, during which he said: “Since the announcement of the Saudi Vision 2030, we have focused on diversifying our sources of income away from traditional sources, to create sustainable revenues in the long term and diversify our sources of economic growth as well.”
The Ministry of Economy and Planning previously announced an agreement with UpLink, the WEF’s open innovation platform, to launch an innovation challenge designed to enhance food security in arid regions.
On the sidelines of the WEF, Al-Jubeir met on Friday with Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s minister for climate change. They reportedly discussed bilateral relations, international efforts to tackle climate change and major topics on the WEF agenda.