The economically active population in the Middle East is growing a lot faster than the other regions in the world. The Kuwaiti government has announced “Kuwait 2035”, which is a set of measures to boost the economy over the next 20 years through reducing on oil revenue and building the country as a hub for finance, trade and tourism in the region. Kuwait government has planned to build nine smart cities.
According to the Smart Cities Council (SCC), an industry coalition formed to accelerate the transition to the UN Agenda 2030 approved ‘Next Society’ cities; a smart city is defined as a city which has digital technology embedded across all city functions. The concept of the smart city has introduced the importance of Information and Communication technologies, in literature the term smart city is used to specify a city’s ability to respond to the needs of its citizens. City developments are extensively influenced by the core systems of the cities such as transport, government services, education, public safety and health.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is focusing on the country’s other abundant natural resource to take it beyond the age of oil. The kingdom is now converting thousands of square kilometers of sand into new smart and futuristic cities as it seeks to diversify and move away from the dependency of oil, create job opportunities and boost investment. In the last month alone, the world’s largest oil exporter announced two major developments,one covering an area bigger than Belgium and another almost the size of Moscow which is apart from the country’s plans to build a series of economic cities, special zones in logistics,tourism, industry and finance, an entertainment city as well as a $10 billion financial district. The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs in May announced that development 10 new Smart Cities that will be developed across the Kingdom as part of realizing the goals of the National Transformation Program of 2020. The highest authorities have entrusted the ministry to implement the smart city projects. In October 2017 Saudi Arabia announced that the country will be developing a $500 billion Smart City of the Future called NEOM. The 26,500 square km (10,230 square mile) zone, known as NEOM, will focus on industries including energy and water, biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing and entertainment.