People attend the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh, on October 24, 2017. AFP / FAYEZ NURELDINE
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Saudi Arabia announced Tuesday a $500 billion plan to build a business and industrial zone that links with Jordan and Egypt, the biggest effort yet to free the kingdom from dependence on oil exports. The 26,500 square kilometers zone, known as NEOM, will focus on industries including energy and water, biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing and entertainment, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman said.The Saudi economy has struggled to overcome low oil prices.The Saudi government, the PIF and local and international investors are expected to put more than half a trillion dollars into it in coming years, Prince Mohammad said.Saudi Arabia will need huge financial and technical resources to build NEOM on the scale it envisages.
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