Saudi Arabia says NEOM projects including The Line aren’t actually being scaled back

  • It seemed like the NEOM megaproject was facing setbacks in its schedule
  • However, Saudi Arabia has made a statement confirming that The Line and other developments will go ahead as planned
  • The $1.5 trillion futuristic desert project sits on the coast of the Red Sea

Published on Apr 30, 2024 at 2:23 PM (UTC+4)
by Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

Last updated on Apr 30, 2024 at 5:56 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Adam Gray

Saudi Arabia says NEOM projects including The Line aren’t actually being scaled back

While it seemed like the NEOM mega-project was facing setbacks in its schedule, Saudi Arabia has made a statement confirming that The Line and other developments will go ahead as planned.

The Kingdom’s $1.5 trillion NEOM is a futuristic desert project sitting on the coast of the Red Sea.

And thankfully, it turns out the reports of scaling back from early April aren’t accurate.

READ MORE! Abu Dhabi building world’s first Esports island to rival Saudi Arabia in $280m project

It was reported that The Line, which was projected to stretch for 105 miles across the Saudi desert by 2030, would have its scope reduced by 98.6% to just 1.5 miles by the deadline.

A video was previously posted to LinkedIn by Giles Pendleton, the chief operating officer of the project, offering a glimpse into the astounding momentum and scale of The Line.

Saudi Economy Minister, Faisal Al Ibrahim, spoke to CNBC in Riyadh to refute these claims.

“For NEOM, the projects, the intended scale is continuing as planned. There is no change in scale,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Kingdom’s economy minister had a message of positivity regarding the megaproject.

“All projects are moving full steam ahead,” Faisal Al Ibrahim told CNBC.

“We set out to do something unprecedented and we’re doing something unprecedented, and we will deliver something that’s unprecedented.”

As part of the $1.5 trillion NEOM mega-project, Saudi Arabia originally estimated that the futuristic city ‘The Line’ would be home to 1.5 million people by 2030.

However, those lofty estimates were reportedly being scaled back to 300,000 in the medium term.

The Bloomberg source close to the project claimed that only 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles) of that was expected to be completed by the 2030 deadline.

Bloomberg cited an unnamed source who’s close to the giga-project.

Despite this, fresh behind-the-scenes images have revealed The Line’s transport network taking shape.

The purported scaling back of plans came amid alleged concerns over finances for NEOM, which is part of the kingdom’s broader Vision 2030 initiative to diversify its economy away from oil.

Funded by the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), the aim is to allow the Kingdom’s economy to diversify away from oil and focus instead on tech and innovation.

PIF has not yet approved NEOM’s budget for 2024, according to Bloomberg’s report.

Al Ibrahim stressed that, while the projects would be delivered by the deadline, decisions were being made for ‘optimal economic impact’.

“Today the economy in the kingdom is growing faster, but we don’t want to overheat it. We don’t want to deliver these projects at the cost of importing too much against our own interest.

“We will continue delivering these projects in a manner that meets these priorities, delivers these projects, and has the optimal healthy impact for our economy and the … healthy non-oil growth within it.”

Al Ibrahim also explained that the developments within NEOM are seeing growing investor interest.

“Keep in mind that these sectors didn’t exist in the past. They’re being built from scratch. They require some investment and going all in from the government and the sovereign wealth fund,” he said.

“And we’re seeing increased investor interest on all of these projects.

“These projects will be delivered to their scale and in a manner that in terms of priorities suits the needs of the projects, the returns of these projects, and the economic impact.

“It’s like minimizing any leakage, minimizing any overheating risks as well.”


Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

London-based Amelia cut her journalistic teeth covering all things lifestyle, wellness and luxury in the UK capital. Fast-forward a decade and the experienced content creator and editor has put pen to paper for glossy magazines, busy newsrooms and coveted brands. When her OOO is on you can find her spending quality time with her young family, in the gym or exploring the city she loves.