The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

A second Alex?

At the WEF in Sharm last week, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif fed the national press with some projects to be announced soon, in tourism, real estate and transportation, which will mostly be financed by UAE or Kuwait based investment groups. I am under the impression that the government over the past months has focused its efforts to attract foreign investment to Gulf investors.

An oil price at around $70 per barrel is a solid reason for the government to do so, but now they are exaggerating:
Gulf and Egyptian investors were planning to develop a $US40 billion ($53billion) tourist resort on the coast of northern Egypt, an Egyptian official said.

"It will be the biggest Arab construction project in Egypt," covering more than 100 million square metres, government spokesman Magdy Rady said.

He did not name any of the investors involved in the project, details of which will be released in mid-June.

The consortium planning the resort included companies from the United Arab Emirates, and the signing ceremony in June would be attended by Dubai's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Al-Ahram said yesterday, citing Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif.

Al-Akhbar eported that the resort would be as big as Alexandria, Egypt's second-largest city, and take 20 years to build.

Is there no more space in the Emirates for mega-projects? To me this looks like Egypt is now the Sheikhs' mega playing ground. A few weeks ago, there were some press reports that Gulf investors wanted to invest no less then $4billions in an ArabDisneyland in Egypt, providing jobs for half a million young Egyptians.

This was denied by Disneyland -  looks like Mickey Mouse has a better sense of reality then some of those oil investors at the moment.