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Neom: Saudi Arabia's megaproject 'seeking $2.7bn loan'

Early stages of $500bn project will be financed by domestic lenders, according to Bloomberg
A picture taken during 'The Line' exposition by Neom in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 15 November 2022 (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia's megaproject Neom is seeking to raise 10 billion riyals ($2.7bn) in loans, according to a report in Bloomberg published on Monday. 

The early stages of the $500bn planned city will be financed by money raised from local lenders, according to sources familiar with the matter who spoke to Bloomberg. Banks are currently in negotiations with Neom, and the loan could be completed in the next few months.

The company is also planning to raise a further 3 billion riyals ($800m) from local banks for the development of Shushah Island, the reports said. The island is planned as a luxury destination which Neom says will host the world's largest coral garden

In its totality, organisers say Neom will be 33 times the size of New York City once the project is finalised. It is touted to include a 170km straight-line city, an eight-sided city that floats on water, a ski resort with a folded vertical village, and a beach resort called Sindalah. 

The megacity last month secured a deal worth over $5.6bn with domestic developers to create a public-private partnership deal to construct temporary housing and facilities. Riyadh Bank also signed off an $800m loan to fund the development of Sindalah. 

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Construction is underway on the 170km straight-line city, dubbed The Line, according to new satellite imagery seen by Middle East Eye last month.

The project is being built in the Tabuk province of northwestern Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi government has been accused of forcibly displacing members of the Howeitat tribe, who have lived in the Tabuk province for centuries, to make way for the new city.

At least 47 members of the tribe have been either arrested or detained for resisting eviction, including five who have been sentenced to death, according to a report by the UK-based Alqst rights group.

MEE revealed in May that the UK government was facilitating collaboration between British businesses and the planned Saudi megacity, despite allegations of serious human rights abuses taking place to make way for the project.

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