Everyone Wants to be the Next Dubai: The Story of Two Soon-to-be Competing Megacities

neom-map.jpgSaudi Arabia’s NEOM Project

Neom, meaning “New Future,” is a Sudi-born project to build a city next to the Red Sea that will be larger than Rwanda and will cost about 500-billion dollars. Neom will operate as a semi-autonomous city-state. Neom will follow the lead of cities like Dubai and Singapore. This project has HUGE geopolitical and socioeconomic impacts.

First off, the project itself was started in order to move closer to Egypt and Jordan through trade. Also, the proximity of the planned city to Israel may lead to Saudi Arabia’s recognition of Israel. Finally, this project is meant to help Saudi Arabia prepare for a post-oil centric economy and will help Saudi Arabia reform its economy. Another reason for building this city is the ability to integrate disruptive technologies to innovate the area with actually disrupting anything. The Neom project is very ambitious, for it promises not only autonomous vehicles replacing regular vehicles but also lots of solar and wind energy as well as a large reliance on robots. With all of this economic and innovative reform, social reform will come too, with this city opening up opportunities for better human rights.

Neom’s placement is also strategic, for it is in an area with a high amount of maritime trade. This project’s placement will also allow Saudi Arabia to connect Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia not only politically but also physically with a 10 km bridge and it will open up obligations for Saudi-Israeli diplomatic relations.

The project is set to be finished in 2025, but previous endeavors of similar intent by Saudi Arabia have all failed.

Egypt’s New Capital

An unnamed project sets out to make a new capital for Egypt that will draw it closer to nearby countries. Unlike Saudi Arabia’s enormous city concept, Egypt’s new capital will only be 700 sq km, bt will still be twice as large as Cairo. The project will cost 45 billion dollars, but it is most likely that more costs will be added on as production continues. Funding for the project will come from many foreign investments, including some from Saudi Arabia.

Also unlike Saudi Arabia’s Neom project, Egypt’s new capital will be a way to move the government to a more developed area. This project is very ambitious and promises a government building 8 times the size of the White House among many other things. Not only will this project move the government, but it also seeks to move people around, as 96% of Egypt inhabits only 4% of the land. Myriad of new job opportunities in the new city would attract people to move away from already too crowded areas. Finally, this new project will not only help move the government but also reform it. The government will reform its political relations with nearby countries and try to reestablish themselves as a geopolitical influence in the region.

The project is set to be finished in 2022, but previous endeavors of similar intents by Egypt have all failed.

Together, Egypt’s new capital and Saudi Arabia’s Neom will both complement each other and compete with each other.


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