-Top News Abu Dhabi UAE News

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince receives Dubai counterpart

Their Highnesses, joined by sheikhs, guests and the crowd of well-wishers, performed the Maghrib prayer. Following the prayer, they attended the Iftar banquet hosted by H.H. Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan…reports Asian Lite News

H.H. Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, has received H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, today at Al Bateen Palace, where they engaged in warm discussions about the importance of promoting community ties and Emirati values of compassion and generosity during Ramadan.

Their Highnesses and accompanying guests offered prayers for the enduring health and wellness of our leadership on this occasion, and to uphold the blessings of security, stability, and ongoing prosperity of our nation, under the guidance of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Their Highnesses, joined by sheikhs, guests and the crowd of well-wishers, performed the Maghrib prayer. Following the prayer, they attended the Iftar banquet hosted by H.H. Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Together, they prayed for the continuance of these blessed days for the United Arab Emirates, and for the prosperity and welfare of both its leadership and its people. Their Highnesses also exchanged heartfelt wishes for the long-lasting prosperity and blessings of Arab and Islamic nations worldwide.

ALSO READ-Abu Dhabi private sector achieves remarkable growth

-Top News Arab News USA

Blinken Meets Saudi Crown Prince

The two sides reviewed regional developments and bilateral relations…reports Asian Lite News

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Monday.

The two sides reviewed regional developments and bilateral relations on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Saudi Press Agency.

Saudi Arabia is the first stop of Blinken’s fifth tour in the region since the onset of the Israel-Hamas conflict on October 7, 2023, which has led to escalating tensions across the region.

Blinken will also visit Israel, Egypt, Qatar, and the West Bank in his regional tour.

ALSO READ: GCC banks set to thrive in 2024, UAE, Saudi lead: S&P

-Top News Arab News Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Hosts 57-Nation Summit, Bringing Together Iran and Arab Leaders

Israel launched its offensive after surprise; cross-border attacks by Hamas left 1,200 people dead and took 230 hostages…reports Asian Lite News

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in their first public appearance together in 11 years at a summit convened by Saudi Arabia on the Israel Hamas war where Arab and Muslim leaders from 57 nations condemned what they called Israeli “war crimes” in Gaza where innocent Palestinians civilians had lost their lives.

The summit highlights the first trip by an Iranian leader to Saudi Arabia in 11 years after the two countries restored diplomatic relations in March. Raisi shook hands with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Speaking at the summit, Raisi said that all attendees had gathered there on behalf of the Islamic world to “save the Palestinians”, the media report said. 

“We have gathered here today to discuss the focus of the Islamic world, which is the Palestinian cause, where we’ve witnessed the worst crimes in history… today, is a historic day in the heroic defence and support of Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he added.

Opening the summit, the Saudi Crown Prince said the Kingdom “categorically rejects” the war to which Palestinians are being subjected. Saudi Arabia is a close ally of the US sharing interests on oil production and is instrumental in playing a great role in hostage negotiations with Egypt, US, Qatar.

“This summit is being held under exceptional and painful circumstances,” he said. 

“We categorically reject this brutal war that our brothers and sisters are being subjected to in Palestine… we renew our demand for an immediate cessation of military operations.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the US “bears responsibility for the absence of a political solution” as it has the most influence on Israel.

The Saudi Prince’s extraordinary diplomatic push in organising the summit of arab nations and Muslim leaders that drew out the Iranian President for the first time out of Tehran, gathered 57 leaders, who demanded that the UN Security Council take a “decisive and binding decision” to impose a ceasefire and Israel’s expanded ground invasion was hurting innocent civilians, media reports said.

“We condemn the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip, the war crimes and the barbaric, brutal and inhumane massacres committed by the colonial occupation government against the Palestinian people, including in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. We demand it be stopped immediately,” a resolution adopted at summit said.

The summit demanded the entry of humanitarian aid convoys to help relieve the stress of the people remaining in the combat zones in the Gaza enclave, CNN reporting on the summit said.  

Some 7,00,000 people have fled the war torn zone including foreign nationals and injured civilians that have crossed the border across Rafah crossing into Egypt.

Large number of civilians still remain in Gaza as the Hamas is preventing their exit to use them as human shields as IDF forces its entry into Gaza city through their expanded ground invasion, media reports said.

“Protection from cycles of violence and wars will not be achieved without ending the Israeli occupation… we hold Israel, the occupying power responsible for the continuation and aggravation of the conflict as a result of its aggression against human rights,” the resolution emphasised.

Israel launched its offensive after surprise; cross-border attacks by Hamas left 1,200 people dead and took 230 hostages.

Iran backs the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah, which has engaged the Jewish nation in daily cross-fire Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. It also backs Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have been firing missiles towards Israel, and maintains strong ties with Hamas. 

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad also attended the summit, a further sign of Syria’s rehabilitation among Arab states, following his participation at a regional meeting in May. 

In his remarks, Assad criticized normalization agreements between Arab countries and Israel. 

“More hands extended by us equals more massacres against us,” he said.

Qatar’s head of state, Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, also criticized the international community for failing to “stop war crimes and massacres” in Gaza.

Qatar has brokered indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel over the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas, humanitarian aid into the besieged Gaza strip, as well as a possible ceasefire. 

Arab-Islamic summit has rejected justifying Gaza war as Israeli self-defence

Riyadh hosted leaders from Iran, Turkey, Syria, Palestine and other countries to discuss the Israel-Gaza war. 

In the opening remarks, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman called for an immediate cessation of military operations in Gaza and the release of all captives and prisoners. 

“This is a humanitarian catastrophe that has proved the failure of the international community and the UN Security Council to put an end to Israel’s gross violations of international humanitarian laws, and prove the dual standards adopted by the world,” he said.

ALSO READ-Macron urges Israel to stop bombing Gaza

-Top News Arab News Saudi Arabia

Abha International Airport Set for Major Expansion

The new Abha airport aims to embody a consistent architectural identity with the heritage of the Asir region, transforming it into a prominent landmark in the Kingdom…reports Asian Lite News

His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Prime Minister, and Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, has announced the launch of the master plan for the new Abha International Airport.

The new Abha airport aims to embody a consistent architectural identity with the heritage of the Asir region, transforming it into a prominent landmark in the Kingdom. Its terminal area will expand to 65,000 square meters, as planned to complete the first phase by 2028, compared to the current 10,500 square meters of the existing airport. This expansion includes the construction of passenger boarding bridges, self-service facilities for streamlined travel procedures, and high-capacity parking facilities.

The design of the new airport will reflect the architectural identity of the Asir region and showcase Saudi culture. This design will offer a distinctive travel experience with high efficiency, ensuring seamless services for visitors and travellers. The airport’s capacity will increase to accommodate over 13 million passengers annually, a tenfold increase from the current 1.5 million capacity. It will also handle more than 90,000 flights per year, a significant increase from the current 30,000 flights. Additionally, the new airport will feature 20 gates, along with 41 check-in counters with 7 new self-service check-in.

The new Abha airport is expected to contribute to enhancing the prominence of the Aseer region as an attractive tourist destination. It will also fulfil Aseer’s development strategy and the aviation strategy that aligns with Saudi Vision 2030 by increasing air connectivity to 250 destinations and transporting 330 million passengers.

ALSO READ-Saudi Affirms Support to Palestinians

-Top News Arab News Saudi Arabia

Crown prince leads Saudi delegation for New Global Financial Pact

The summit, which concludes on Friday, was announced last year by French President Emmanuel Macron and Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados…reports Asian Lite News

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman led the Kingdom’s delegation at the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact in Paris, which kicked off on Thursday.

The event brought together more than 300 officials including heads of state, directors and representatives of international organizations and NGOs, private sector partners, philanthropists, climate experts, and members of civil society.

French president Emmanuel Macron opened the summit, which is set to focus on climate finance, by saying the global lending system needed to be reformed to ensure low-income countries “shouldn’t have to choose” between fighting climate change or poverty.

“We can make it work much better if this money and these liquidities were at the service of progress on the planet and tackling this double challenge that I mentioned: poverty and climate change, (and) biodiversity,” he said.

“Policymakers and countries shouldn’t ever have to choose between reducing poverty and protecting the planet,” he added.

Also speaking at the summit, Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the UN, said the global financial architecture is outdated. 

“We can take steps right now and take a giant leap to achieve global justice. I put forward the policy brief, a detailed blueprint for a redesigned global financial architecture capable of serving as a safety net for all countries,” he said.

“I have no illusions. This is a question of power and political will, and change will not happen overnight, but we can take urgent action today to meet the urgent needs of the developing and emerging economies,” he added.

Organizers said participants would be discussing institutional reforms on taxation, debt restructuring for poor countries, and an international carbon emissions tax, particularly in the maritime transport sector and on global financial transactions.

The summit, which concludes on Friday, was announced last year by French President Emmanuel Macron and Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados.

Macron said: “We must jointly agree on the best way to address these challenges in poor and emerging countries of the developing world, on the amount of investments, and on the reform of all infrastructures such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, public and private funds.

ALSO READ-Saudi’s strategic steps to safeguard pilgrims’ food security

-Top News Arab News

Crown prince’s visit puts Saudi-Greek ties in spotlight

The crown prince went to the Acropolis Museum, where he and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister, witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Saudi Arabia and Greece for cooperation in the cultural field…reports Asian Lite News

When Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman paid a visit on Tuesday night to the archaeological site of the Acropolis in Athens, the purpose was more than to take in the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek antiquity to the world.

The crown prince went to the Acropolis Museum, where he and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister, witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Saudi Arabia and Greece for cooperation in the cultural field.

The agreement was signed from the Saudi side by Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, the Kingdom’s culture minister, who previously visited Athens in May 2021 to discuss aspects of cultural cooperation.

During his visit to the Acropolis, the crown prince, who was accompanied by Prime Minister Mitsotakis and Dr. Lina Mendoni, minister of culture and sports of Greece, was briefed on the ancient buildings, areas and theaters contained within the archaeological site.

Those include the Erechtheion, the Belvedere, the Parthenon, the Theater of Dionysus, and the ancient Odeon of Herodes Atticus theater.

Later in the evening, the crown prince was honored with a dinner banquet at the Acropolis Museum hosted by Mitsotakis. Opened to the public in 2009, the world-famous archaeological Acropolis Museum houses Bronze Age, Roman and Byzantine artifacts discovered at the site of the Acropolis.

Hosting the agreement-signing ceremony at this venue was rich in symbolism. “This has never happened before,” Adonis Georgiadis, the Greek minister for development and investment, said.

“We have never signed an MoU with any other country in the world in the Acropolis Museum. And this is just a (message) from our prime minister to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to show how we feel, that you are something very exceptional to us.”

In September 2021, the Saudi-Greek Business Council was set up to enhance bilateral trade and investment.

The Saudi-Greece annual trade relationship of almost $1 billion includes the exchange of cultural goods, services and skills. One of the main initiatives to come out of a strengthened Saudi-Greek cultural relationship are “Cultural Weeks” to be held in both countries.

During Prince Badr’s previous visit, both Greece and Saudi Arabia pledged to work together to protect tangible and intangible heritage, counter illicit trafficking of cultural property and manage the impacts of climate change.

“As Saudi Arabia’s cultural transformation continues at pace, we welcome closer relations with our Greek friends,” Prince Badr had said after meetings with Mendoni.

“Both our countries have a deep and rich heritage, stretching back millennia, and a shared outlook on the positive power of cultural exchange, and the need for its protection and preservation. As the Kingdom looks to share its culture with the world, Greece’s insight and experience has much to offer us.”

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s delegation included the ministers of energy, sports, foreign affairs, culture, trade, investment, telecommunications and information technology, as well as the national security adviser.

The official engagements on Tuesday evening began with a formal reception ceremony for the crown prince at Maximos Mansion, the official seat and residence of the prime minister of Greece.

Afterward, the two leaders held a bilateral meeting, during which Mitsotakis welcomed the crown prince and wished him and the Saudi delegation a pleasant stay.

Later, Mitsotakis and the crown prince held an expanded meeting in the presence of the delegations of the two countries.

The two leaders witnessed the signing of the agreement to establish the Saudi-Greek Strategic Partnership Council, besides the exchange of a number of bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding between the two countries.

The agreement in the field of energy, signed between Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman and Nikolaos Dendias, the Greek minister of foreign affairs, sets a framework for cooperation in the fields of renewable energy, electrical interconnection, exporting electricity to Greece and Europe, and clean hydrogen and its transfer to Europe, according to a Saudi Press Agency report.

The agreement will also look at working together in the areas of energy efficiency and the oil, gas and petrochemical industries, while adopting the circular economy approach to carbon and technologies to reduce the effects of climate change.

Both countries will explore the scope of reusing, transporting and storing the gas, as well as capturing carbon directly from the air.

As for the submarine cable agreement, it is designed to promote digital transformation and innovation in the fields of energy, including cybersecurity, while working to develop qualitative partnerships to localize materials, products and services related to all energy sectors and their associated supply chains, and technologies.

Concurrently, a strategic partnership was announced between the private sectors in the two countries to build a data cable project linking East and West, in a way that would ensure the smooth digital supply of data globally at a time when the world is witnessing an annual growth rate in data traffic of more than 30 percent.

Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih and Greek Minister for Development and Investment Adonis Georgiadis attend a Greek-Saudi business meeting in Athens on July 27, 2022. (Reuters)

Another high point of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit was the Saudi-Greek Investment Forum, held in Athens on Wednesday and attended by ministers and representatives of the private sector from both sides.

ALSO READ-Saudi crown prince holds talks with Greek PM

-Top News Saudi Arabia

Saudi crown prince holds talks with Greek PM

The crown prince is visiting Greece and France, where he will discuss bilateral relations and ways to enhance them in various fields with both countries…reports Asian Lite News

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during an official visit to the country on Tuesday.

“I’m very glad to be in Greece and very thankful for the warm welcome which means a lot to me and Saudi Arabia,” Prince Mohammed said.

A welcome ceremony was held in honour of the crown prince and both leaders inspected the honor guard.

Agreements in the fields of investment, science, technology, and the military were signed between both countries on Tuesday evening.

Memoranda of cooperation regarding the military and economy were also signed.

Prince Mohammed was received on arrival in Athens by Greece’s Deputy Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos.

The crown prince is visiting Greece and France and will discuss bilateral relations and ways to enhance them in various fields with the leaders of both countries. He will also discuss issues of common interest.

The visits come in response to invitations extended to Prince Mohammed and on the directives of King Salman who is keen to communicate with and strengthen relations between the Kingdom and friendly countries in all fields.

Crown Prince attends signing of cultural MoU

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attended the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Kingdom and Greece, for cooperation in the cultural field.

The signing ceremony took place at the Acropolis Museum in Athens on Tuesday night, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis then hosted a dinner at the Acropolis Museum in honor of the crown prince’s visit, SPA added.

The crown prince, accompanied by Mitsotakis, was also given a tour of the museum and the Acropolis site – including the Erechtheion, the Belvadere, the Parthenon, the Theatre of Dionysus, and the ancient Odeon of Herodes Atticus theatre.

The crown prince is visiting Greece and France, where he will discuss bilateral relations and ways to enhance them in various fields with both countries. He will also discuss issues of common interest.

Strong ties

Saudi Arabia and Greece share strong bonds of friendship and cooperation. The ties is not limited to the political arena, but spans economic, commercial, investment, defense, security, cultural and tourism fields among others.

Even so, both sides continuously seek to identify new opportunities for cooperation with the aim of opening diverse fields of economic engagement, facilitating ongoing interactions between Saudi and Greek business sectors, and enabling commercial and investment partnerships within the framework of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan.

In recent decades, investors from both countries have collaborated on a number of joint ventures, and bilateral trade has played a prominent role in the flowering of their commercial relationship.

In 2020, Greek exports to Saudi Arabia were valued at $339.04 million, while its imports from the Kingdom stood at $620.57 million, according to the UN Comtrade database on international trade.

Viewed through the prism of history, the ties that bind the two countries today are a continuation of Greek-Arab relations that date back centuries.

For proof, one need only look at the artifacts preserved in the Riyadh Museum for History and Archaeology, including Greek coins dating back more than 2,000 years.

More broadly, scholarly and architectural influences of ancient Greece can be seen to this day throughout the region, from Europe, the eastern Mediterranean and the Levant to Mesopotamia, Iran and even India.

Through the trade links and conquests of antiquity, Hellenistic ideas blended with those of Arab and later Muslim thinkers, in everything from mathematics and medicine to astronomy and philosophy.

Both Saudi Arabia and Greece are endowed with rich cultural diversity, with efforts underway by both countries to preserve it and share it with the world.

Vision 2030 is based on a new philosophy to revive the Arab and Islamic heritage of the Arabian Peninsula, and to enhance Saudi Arabia’s contribution to culture, arts and global civilization.

Today, the Kingdom’s most important export to Greece is crude oil, while the latter has been a longstanding supplier of cotton seeds, metals, pharmaceuticals, and food items such as margarine, processed goods, nuts and fruit.

Another area that has united both economies is construction. In the 1970s, when the booming city of Riyadh needed the skills of a master planner, authorities called in Constantinos Doxiadis, an architect and urban planner who had worked on several projects in his native Greece.

With Riyadh in the midst of oil-fueled economic and demographic growth, Doxiadis experimented with the idea of a US-style grid system, still in evidence in the city’s Al-Olaya district.

However, the Saudi-Greek relationship extends far beyond brick and mortar. In April 2021, Greece signed an agreement to lend the Kingdom a Patriot air defense battery, which was delivered in September that year, representing a major step forward in defense cooperation.

ALSO READ-Crown Prince expects NEOM’s IPO to add $266bn

-Top News Arab News Saudi Arabia

Crown Prince expects NEOM’s IPO to add $266bn

NEOM is one of Saudi Arabia’s flagship projects that aims to transform the region as it diversifies itself from an oil-dependent economy to a tourist destination…reports Asian Lite News

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the Kingdom plans for the Saudi stock exchange to be larger than many global peers as he expects NEOM to sell shares to the public in 2024, adding nearly SR1 trillion ($266 billion) to the market.

Speaking to reporters after unveiling the designs of The Line, the city in NEOM, the Crown Prince further noted that the NEOM will add more than SR5 trillion to the stock exchange in later stages as more parts of the project will be completed.

The Crown Prince also added that all companies owned by the Public Investment Fund will be listed on the stock market in the future, which will help it become one of the top three largest stock markets on the planet.

Talking about the funding plans for NEOM, the Crown Prince said that in 2027 the SR500 billion capital for the project will be collected — with SR200-300 billion of that coming from the services that will be created in the first phase. Another SR200-300 billion will be gathered from the market.

He also mentioned that NEOM’s capital will come from sovereign wealth funds, initial public offering, and international private investors. He said that this will be the main challenge that they will overcome in the next two years. 

He also made it clear that the project will have an additional SR200 to SR300 billion in governmental support, in addition to the investments the PIF will put in the project.

The first phase of the NEOM project will be completed by 2030, and at that time, the city will have over 1.5 million residents, he noted. He added that NEOM will have at least 9 million residents by 2045.

He further stated that the Kingdom wishes to have a population of at least 50-60 million people by 2030.

NEOM is one of Saudi Arabia’s flagship projects that aims to transform the region as it diversifies itself from an oil-dependent economy to a tourist destination.

As outlined in Vision 2030, NEOM will be a smart city, adopting advanced technologies.

With some 56 percent of the world’s population now living in cities, urban sustainability and public well-being have become a growing concern for governments worldwide.

To address these challenges, Saudi Arabia is boldly experimenting with how urban spaces are designed with its revolutionary NEOM smart city and its flagship development — The Line.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced plans for The Line — one of several mega-projects now underway as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform and economic diversification plan.

He said that the design would clarify the internal structure of the multi-layered city and address the problems of traditional flat horizontal cities, achieving harmony between urban development and the preservation of nature, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the initial idea and vision of the city that redefines the concept of urban development, and what cities of the future should look like, in January 2021.

During Monday’s announcement, the crown prince said that The Line would achieve “ideal living” and address the urgent challenges facing humanity.

“NEOM is one of the most important projects of the Saudi Vision 2030 and The Line is an affirmation of our firm commitment to presenting a project to the whole world. NEOM is a place for those who dream of a better tomorrow,” he said.

The designs of The Line embody how urban communities will live in the future in an environment free from roads, cars and emissions, he added.

The crown prince said that the project, which offers a new approach to urban design, would run on 100 percent renewable energy and prioritize people’s health.

“The idea of layering city functions vertically and giving people the possibility of moving seamlessly in three dimensions to access them is a concept referred to as Zero Gravity Urbanism,” he said.

According to the design plan revealed on Monday, The Line will have an outer mirror facade that will provide the structure its unique character and allow even its small footprint to blend with nature, while its interior will be built to create “extraordinary experiences and magical moments,” the crown prince added.

The Line will eventually accommodate 9 million residents and will be built on a footprint of 34 square kilometers, which is unheard of when compared to other cities of similar capacity, according to Monday’s statement.

Different from tall buildings, the concept layers public parks and pedestrian areas, schools, homes and places for work.

The narrow design is intended to reduce the man-made footprint on the landscape and promote greater efficiency. The city will feature a high-speed rail link with an end-to-end transit time of just 20 minutes.

The ideal climate within the structure, all year round, will ensure that residents can enjoy the surrounding nature while walking around. Residents will also have access to all facilities in The Line within a five-minute walk.

“The Line will be created by a team of world-renowned architects and engineers, led by NEOM, to develop this revolutionary concept for the city of the future,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said.

Furthermore, the city’s design will be completely digitized, and the construction industrialized to a large degree by significantly advancing construction technologies and manufacturing processes.

The design has already enjoyed good reception for its boldness and ambition. According to Mohamed Ramady, a London-based economist, the vision for The Line is nothing short of revolutionary, despite some skepticism from traditional urban developers.

For Mohammed Al-Suwayed, CEO of Razeen Capital, the appeal of NEOM is in its youthfulness and willingness to break with old ways of building as well as living.

With backing from the Saudi Public Investment Fund, as well as local and international investors, planners say the $500 billion NEOM project will include hyperconnected, cognitive towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centers, sports and entertainment venues and tourist destinations.

Its location means it is ideally situated to attract global investment by taking advantage of existing commercial routes. Around 13 percent of the world’s trade passes through the Red Sea, and some 40 percent of the world is less than six hours away by air.

The unique geographical location of NEOM ensures a temperate climate, roughly 10 degrees Celsius cooler on average than the rest of the GCC, cradled in a mountainous region that is home to some of the Kingdom’s most diverse terrain.

With sustainability at the core of the project, some 95 percent of NEOM’s land is conserved for environmental protection. All energy in NEOM will be 100 percent renewable — from solar, wind and hydrogen-based power generation — ensuring clean and pollution-free urban environments.

Communities will be built around people, not cars, with raised walkways connecting the site. Roads and streets will be replaced by piazzas and walkable boulevards filled with parks and green spaces. Communities empowered by artificial intelligence will learn and predict ways to make life easier to save time for residents and businesses.

The Line itself will connect four distinctive ecologies: coast, desert, mountains, and upper valley. Nature will be integrated into the heart of the communities, enhancing livability and well-being. It will also be supported by agricultural areas, supporting locally grown and sustainable food production.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the initial idea and vision with a view to redefine the concept of urban development and what cities of the future should look like.

“At The Line’s launch last year, we committed to a civilizational revolution that puts humans first based on a radical change in urban planning,” he said on Monday.

ALSO READ-Saudi crown prince and Kazakhstan president hold talks

-Top News Arab News Saudi Arabia

Saudi launches $20bn Jeddah Central Project

The ambitious SAR75 billion (USD 20 bn) project will develop 5.7 million square meters of land overlooking the Red Sea to be financed by the Public Investment Fund and from local and international investors, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has launched the master plan and main features of the Jeddah Central Project (previously known as New Jeddah Downtown).

The ambitious SAR75 billion project was launched by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Public Investment Fund and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Jeddah Central Development Company.

The project will develop 5.7 million square meters of land overlooking the Red Sea to be financed by the Public Investment Fund and from local and international investors, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

ALSO READ: Saudi submits bid to host World Expo 2030 in Riyadh

The launch of the master plan and main features comes as part of HRH the Crown Prince’s efforts to develop all regions and cities of the Kingdom. The project envisions the creation of a world-class destination overlooking the Red Sea in the heart of Jeddah and will further strengthen the city’s economy.

The Jeddah Central Project is expected to achieve an estimated added value of SR47 billion riyals for the Kingdom’s economy by 2030. It will include four notable landmarks (Opera House – Museum – Sports Stadium – Oceanarium) and contribute to opening the way for the local private sector to participate in the development, which will help shape the operation of promising economic sectors including tourism, entertainment, culture, and sports.

(Tahir mq, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

In addition, the city will benefit from the building and development of modern residential areas, encompassing 17,000 residential units and diversified hotel projects that offer more than 2,700 hotel rooms, and the provision of integrated solutions for the business sector. The project will feature a world-class marina and stunning beach resorts, as well as an restaurants and cafes, and diverse shopping options.

The project master plan reflects the Hijazi essence of urban fabric and blocks that characterize the historic city of Jeddah in a contemporary interpretation designed to the highest international standards. It also considers the application of the latest technologies to transform Jeddah into a “smart destination,” creating an effortless experience for residents and visitors.

In addition, the design of the project has adopted world-class sustainability programs to contribute to supporting the environment and the economy, in line with the objectives of the Saudi Green Initiative. More than 500 expert engineers and consultants participated in the development of the master plan, representing five of the best design houses in the world.

The project contributes to achieving the objectives of Vision 2030, which aims to build a prosperous economy and a vibrant society while providing the best lifestyle for residents and visitors. The waterfront of the project is 9.5 km long, which includes a promenade, a marina to host local and international yachts, and a 2.1 km long beach. Open spaces and public services make up 40% of the project area, with the provision of designated walking areas to create a walkable environment.

The SAR 75 billion The project is one of the most exciting local investments of the Public Investment Fund, which contributes to diversifying sources of income, advancing the national economy and creating more job opportunities for Saudi citizens.

The project’s developer, Jeddah Central Development Company, was established in 2019 by the Public Investment Fund. Its board of directors is headed by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The company will complete the project in three phases, the first of which is set to be finished by the end of 2027.

Following this milestone, the Jeddah Central Project will begin welcoming Jeddah residents, together with visitors from both inside and outside the Kingdom. Currently, the company is working with all relevant authorities to ensure the implementation of every stage of the project.

-Top News Dubai UAE News

Hamdan launches Dubai Future Solutions initiative

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed said Dubai Future Solutions aims to accelerate the implementation of emerging technologies in designing its future, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, announced the launch of the Dubai Future Solutions, a global initiative featuring a series of challenges that will bring together scientists, designers, inventors, universities, research centres, companies and startups from around the world to create innovative solutions for improving people’s lives.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, who is also the Chairman of Dubai Executive Council and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) said: “Dubai Future Solutions aims to accelerate the implementation of emerging technologies in designing its future.”


SHEIKH HAMDAN BIN MOHAMMED BIN RASHID AL MAKTOUM, CROWN PRINCE OF DUBAI: “The launch of the initiative reflects the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to scale up Dubai Future Foundation’s successful experience in acceleration programmes, innovative projects, and embedding a testing and innovative mindset, and transition this from a local to a global level. Dubai always has been and continues to be a place that nurtures innovation, and we seek to constantly explore ways to further enhance the emirate’s position on the global innovation map.”

Sheikh Hamdan said Dubai is committed to empower and support talent with the resources needed to transform their ideas into global success stories. “The world of technology and innovation is growing at a tremendous speed, and we want to be among the pioneers of future industries. We are always ready to leverage new opportunities and deal with any challenges that the evolving world of technology may bring.”

Khalfan Juma Belhoul, CEO of the Dubai Future Foundation, said: “Guided by the forward-looking vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the city is emerging as a leading global destination for innovation where talent, entrepreneurs and investors from around the world can connect with each other to solve future challenges and implement ideas for creating a better life for humanity.”

Since its establishment, the Dubai Future Foundation, has always fostered innovation and adopted a testing and risk-taking mindset to provide solutions to better serve humanity; and we demonstrate this though many of our initiatives, including our accelerator programmes.

The Dubai Future Solutions initiative is yet another unique programme that offers a platform for innovators to showcase their ideas for solving some of the world’s critical challenges. Dubai will continue to constantly enhance its innovation ecosystem and launch unique initiatives to provide a supportive environment for innovators to test and implement ideas with the potential to positively transform our world.”

Three days ago, Sheikh Hamdan had approved the launch of a digital platform for Emiratis enrolled in Dubai’s housing programme to exchange grants, land plots and housing units among themselves.

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Sheikh Hamdan also approved prioritising the allocation of residential land plots and housing units to first-degree family members in the same residential area in Dubai as part of the broader aim of strengthening family bonds in the community.

With a budget of AED65 billion, Dubai’s housing programme is the largest initiative of its kind to develop residential areas for Emiratis and enhance the community welfare system within an integrated framework.

“The housing programme will help create an ideal environment in Dubai for both work and life, improve the quality of life of citizens, and promote family stability and social cohesion,” Sheikh Hamdan said.

He said it will help preserve social and economic stability and promote sustainable growth, as part of the broader objective of transforming Dubai into the world’s best city to live in and work.


This year, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum approved a historic housing budget of AED65 billion for Dubai Government’s housing programme over the next 20 years.

The programme is part of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan which aims to advance the emirate’s urban growth and sustainable development, address future challenges and improve the city’s quality of life.

The housing programme features the provision of 4,000 plots of land for Emirati citizens, and an increase in the total area of land plots allocated to Emirati citizens to 1.7 billion square feet in order to meet the needs of citizens over the next 20 years. Emiratis in Dubai will be entitled to housing loans of up to AED1 million under the programme.