Saudi Arabia appoints Neom programme manager

14 December 2017
The $500bn city is the largest project planned in the region

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has appointed the UK’s Buro Happold as the programme manager for its $500bn Neom city project that was launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud in late October.

The city will be developed on 26,500 square kilometres of land along 468km of coastline along the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. It will also cross into Jordan and Egypt. The plans also include the King Salman Bridge that will connect Saudi Arabia and Egypt – Riyadh and Cairo agreed to develop a causeway that will link the two countries across the Red Sea in 2016.

The aim of the city is to be an innovation hub that will be made more attractive to future investors and residents by creating an independent economic zone for the city with its own laws, taxes and regulations.

For energy, the plan is for Neom to be entirely powered by wind and solar energy.

Neom’s contribution to the kingdom’s GDP is expected to be at least $100bn by 2030. Construction of the first phase is due to be completed by 2025.

PIF is working on a string of high profile projects as it gears up to play a leading role in the future development of the kingdom.

It has appointed Netherlands-headquartered Arcadis as the programme manager for the Red Sea Project. The scheme, which was officially announced in late July, involves the development of 200 kilometres of coastline.

US-based Parsons has been appointed as the programme manager for the entertainment city in the Al-Qidya area of Riyadh. The project will focus on cultural, sports and entertainment offerings, will cover an area of 334 square kilometres, including a safari site.

To help deliver these largescale projects Riyadh is preparing to spend billions of dollars to take control of the kingdom’s supply chain.

Riyadh has been eyeing stakes in international companies and is forming a joint-venture super contractor with local and international partners that will fill the void left by the traditional players.

The super contractor will involve Aramco and the PIF partnering with local and international construction companies. In October, contractors from across Europe and Asia were invited to express interest in the entity, which will be 25 per cent owned by Aramco, 25 per cent owned by the PIF, 25 per cent owned by a local contractor, and 25 per cent owned by an international contractor.

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