Saudi Arabia, Egypt sign $10 billion mega city deal

Saudi Arabia and Egypt have set up a $10 billion joint fund to develop a mega city, a Saudi government source said Monday (March 5th).

The deal comes as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visits Cairo, AFP reported.

The deal is aimed at developing the Egyptian side of NEOM, the futuristic project straddling Saudi Arabia and Jordan which the crown prince unveiled in October as part of plans to diversify the kingdom's oil-dependent economy.

"Saudi Arabia signed (an) investment agreement with Egypt to develop Egyptian lands in the south of Sinai to be part of the NEOM Project," the source said.

"Saudi Arabia and Egypt have set up a joint fund of equal shares valued at more than $10 billion. The Egyptians' share comprises a leased land for (the) long term."

The NEOM deal underscores growing strategic ties between the Arab world's richest and the most populous states -- Saudi Arabia and Egypt -- which are both opposed to Iran's influence in the region.

The $500-billion NEOM, meaning "new future" in a combination of English and Arabic abbreviations, is planned to be a biotech and digital hub spread over 26,500 square kilometres in an area in Saudi Arabia facing Jordan and Egypt.

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