Kuwait plans to invest $132 billion in a mega construction project, which will include a one-kilometer high tower and house 700,000 people.
To be called Silk City, or Madinat Al-Hareer in Arabic, the project has taken its name from the ancient Silk Road, a trade route that connected Europe with China via the Middle East.
However, the planners of the project do not intend to dispatch caravans but instead will aim to construct a international rail network not only connecting with Kuwait’s neighbors in the Gulf but also as far away as Israel.
The project’s planner is Dr. Sami Al-Faraj, president of Kuwait Center for Strategic Studies and an adviser to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the common forum for the six oil-rich nations in the Gulf.
He was quoted by the local newspaper Kuwait Times as saying, “We hold the keys to a lot of things, but it is not just money. For small states like us the important thing is not oil, it’s not money – it is influence. If we do not use oil or money to increase our influence in a peaceful way, we have no existence.”
Regarding the proposed link to Israel, which might be perceived as controversial in a region where most countries lack diplomatic relations with Israel, Al-Faraj said such thinking was outdated, particularly as Israel was forging ahead as a global technology leader.
“People in the Gulf are smart enough to understand the impact of technology on their development and they know that the technology is in Israel,” he said.