Oil prices have so swollen Kuwait's national coffers that the petroleum-rich state is to invest $132bn (Â£66bn) on its ambitious "Silk City" at the head of the Gulf, it emerged yesterday.
The extraordinary scale of the metropolis - a 1,001-metre skyscraper, wildlife reserves, and homes for 700,000 people - is matched by a plan to also build an international rail network linking it to Damascus, Baghdad, Iran and China.
Inspired by Dubai's spectacular growth, the Madinat al-Hareer, or Silk City, is intended to create a trading future and a diversified economy in a city which would become a crossroads of the Arab world.
"We are not dreamers at all when we talk about investing $132bn," insisted Sami Alfaraj, president of the Kuwait Center for Strategic Studies and an adviser to the Gulf Cooperation Council, a group of six mostly oil-rich Gulf states.
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