A promotional video for a new $640 billion city in the Middle East suggests a very different kind of Saudi Arabia

Discover neom/ Supplied

Saudi Arabia has announced plans to build a $641 billion mega city that will be powered completely by renewable energy.

The government hopes the project, called NEOM, will boost and diversify its economy to rely less on oil exports.

Along with the goal to lessen Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil exports, the 26,500 square km city — more than twice the size of Sydney — looks like it will focus on providing a very different kind of Saudi Arabia experience.

In a promotional video, NEOM is described as “a destination of the future” and “a chance to design a better way of life”.

It shows women not wearing full hijab coverings, playing music, and working uncovered in science laboratory settings.

See below:


When announcing the project on Tuesday, Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman said:

This place is not for conventional people or conventional companies, this will be a place for the dreamers for the world.

The strong political will and the desire of a nation. All the success factors are there to create something big in Saudi Arabia.

The crown prince, also known by his initials MBS, is thought of as a reformer, having helped push through dropping the ban on women driving. Read more about him here.

Saudi Arabia expects to complete NEOM’s first section by 2025.

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