Saudi Arabia’s Neom ‘is the land of the future’

RIYADH: Smart city technologies will ensure Neom is “the land of the future,” with the Saudi mega-city providing an exceptional quality of life for up to 1 million people by 2030, according to CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr.
Speaking on Wednesday at a session on smart cities at the Global Cybersecurity Forum in Riyadh, Al-Nasr said that work on Neom’s overall strategy, including the key tech and digital sector, is nearing completion.
The strategy is expected to be unveiled in March and will provide an “automated digitized Neom future,” he said.
Al-Nasr said the strategy is not an “evolution but a revolution of the regional plan.”
“Neom is the land of the future. I cannot think of a better timing for Neom than at this forum.
“We are targeting 1 million people, residents and workers, in Neom by 2030, and growing from none to a million in 10 years is not an easy task. It’s going to be the target; we are going to have thousands of digital nomads,” he said.
The CEO said Neom will be the first city totally powered by renewable energy and supported by a fully protected digital system.
“We are going to be the first place in the world that is fully digitized. We are going to be the first region in the world where we are going to be a 100 percent cashless facility. We are going to be the first place with a digital health backbone that connects everyone in the smart city and provides a 24-hour health service.
“We will have fully autonomous mobility, we will have only electric vehicles and public transport will be fully autonomous,” he said.
Al-Nasr said that Neom is working closely with the National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA) to train thousands of workers for the tech and digital sector and its “state of the art security system.”
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy joined speakers at the Riyadh forum on the final day to discuss the role of leadership in the future of cybersecurity.
On the sidelines of the forum, Hamid Syed, Middle East vice president and general manager for UL, a global safety science company, and Ibraheem Alfuraih, NCA deputy governor for strategy and planning, signed a joint agreement to work on a cybersecurity framework for the Kingdom.