26 Oct 2017 12:53

RDIF, partners to invest several billions of dollars in future Saudi Arabian megacity - Dmitriev

RIYADH. Oct 26 (Interfax) - The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and its leading Russian and international partners will participate in Saudi Arabia's project to build a future megacity, Neom in the northwest of the country, RDIF head Kirill Dmitriev told reporters on the sidelines of an investment forum in Riyadh.

Dmitriev said this would include "several billions of dollars" of investments.

The construction of the future megacity was announced at the forum by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Dmitriev said that, under agreements reached at the forum, as part of its work on the project to build Neom, the RDIF will help bring in leading Russian tech companies in the following areas: solar power, healthcare and education, artificial intelligence technology, high-speed transport, as well as port infrastructure for handling agricultural products.

"We're pleased to have the opportunity to take part in such an ambitious project, which will combine the application of new technologies from completely different fields, from renewable energy and advanced transport and port infrastructure to AI technology. The RDIF intends to act as a co-investor with other international funds, as well as attract leading Russian companies to the construction of the city of Neom, thus promoting their high-tech expansion on the promising markets of Saudi Arabia and the whole Middle East," Dmitriev said.

Dmitriev held several bilateral meetings during the forum, including a meeting with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Wednesday evening.

Saudi Arabia has estimated that investments in the city will total at least $500 billion. The city will be located in the northwest of the country and is part of the Vision 2030 program which calls for developing Saudi Arabia into a stable and diversified economy. The government itself, Saudi Arabia's sovereign investment fund and local and international investors will fund the project over the course of several years.

Neom will be located on a 260,000 square kilometer site on the Red Sea coast neighboring Jordan and Egypt and will provide power through renewable energy sources.

Saudi Arabia's aim in creating the free economic zone is to attract investments in new technologies, renewable energy and robotics. The city will become a free economic zone and receive revenue from high-tech business in sectors such as electricity, water resources, transport, biotechnology, food production, innovative forms of manufacturing, media, entertainment and digital technology.

Saudi Arabia's government expects the first phase of construction to be completed in 2025 and that Neom will contribute $100 billion to the country's GDP by 2030.