Arguably the most ambitious, and certainly the most headline grabbing, element of Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s plans to shakeup Saudi Arabia’s economy is Neom. The futuristic “robot city” on the kingdom’s Red Sea coast comes with a $500bn price tag and was first announced in 2017 (MEES, 27 October 2017).

Saudi Arabia says that development of Neom is now accelerating, and this week announced a contract award for a pioneering desalination project. However, with no scale of the facility announced, the move appears primarily a marketing one. UK firm Solar Water will build a pilot “solar dome” desalination plant at Neom, with construction beginning in February and with a planned end-year completion target. (CONTINUED - 158 WORDS)