By Innovation-sa on March 11, 2018 in News

Saudi Arabia and Egypt signed a $10 billion joint investment fund to develop NEOM, the mega-city planned in the north-western region of the Kingdom, as part of Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman’s Egypt visit this week.

NEOM, a mega investment and business special zone unveiled by Prince Muhammed last October as part of plans to diversify the Kingdom’s oil dependent economy, will be the world’s first private zone to extend across three countries, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan.

NEOM targets nine investment sectors including energy and water, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, food, media, and entertainment. The focus on these industries is expected to reduce GDP leakage by providing fresh investment opportunities within the country.

The current deal is focussed on developing the Egyptian side of NEOM, which stretches over 1,000 square kilometers of land in the Southern Sinai.  “Saudi Arabia and Egypt have set up a joint fund of equal shares valued at more than $10 billion. The Egyptians share comprises a leased land for (the) long term”, quoted government sources.

As part of the deal, Saudi Arabia will build seven cities and tourism projects, while Egypt will contribute by developing the existing resorts of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada.

Moreover, officials have clarified that Saudi Arabia is currently involved in negotiation talks with more than seven tourism-related operators and the Kingdom is currently working in collaboration with Egypt and Jordan to attract more European cruise and tourism companies to operate in the Red Sea.

Another agreement, focussing on protecting the marine environment as well as maintaining coral reefs and beaches in the Red Sea was also signed between Egypt and Saudi Arabia during the Crown Prince’s visit.

Separately, Saudi Arabia will start construction of the proposed luxury resorts on islands and other sites on the Red Sea in 2019 and the project is scheduled to be completed in 2022.