x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Emaar to build Cairo's Khalifa City

Thousands of poor Egyptians are to be housed in a vast residential community in New Cairo paid for by the UAE.

A family in the Boulaq neighbourhood, one of the poorest in Cairo, yesterday.
A family in the Boulaq neighbourhood, one of the poorest in Cairo, yesterday.

ABU DHABI // Thousands of poor Egyptians are to be housed in a vast residential community in New Cairo paid for by the UAE and built by an Emirati company. Under a deal signed yesterday with Abu Dhabi Municipality, the Dubai-based property developer Emaar is to take responsibility for the US$100 million (Dh367m) project. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed City, as it will be called, is aimed at young people on low incomes.

Fully funded by a grant from Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE, the project will be built on a 200,000-square-metre site donated by the Egyptian government. Juma Mubarak al Junaibi, the general manager of Abu Dhabi Municipality, said: "The project highlights the strong relations and co-operation that exists between the UAE and Egypt and the wise leadership of the two countries to work towards socio-economic growth." Mr Junaibi said the project would also boost job opportunities in Cairo.

Emaar, the company building the Burj Dubai, the world's tallest tower, plans to entrust the project to its wholly owned Egyptian subsidiary, Emaar Misr for Development. According to the agreement, Emaar Misr will manage the project under the supervision of Abu Dhabi Municipality. It will also manage it after completion, providing maintenance and other services. Mohamed Ali Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar Properties, described the project as "momentous" for Emaar and one that would benefit Egypt's large youth population. "Egypt and the UAE have shared strong bilateral relations in culture and trade and with Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed City, the UAE underscores its regional partnerships that strengthen the socio-economic fabric of partner-nations," he said. Thousands of Egyptians who live in impoverished communities in Cairo, such as Boulaq, aspire to find more modern accommodation. Many of the prospective tenants of Sheikh Khalifa city, however, worried that they could not afford the homes. Emaar was yesterday unable to confirm how many housing units the project would include or what each one would cost. It also did not clarify how the homes will be allocated to prospective residents. The city is being developed in association with the Egyptian ministry of housing, utilities and urban development, following guidelines set by the Egyptian government. The ministry will allot the land for the project and provide necessary approvals required for its construction. According to Emaar, the project will include roads, power and telecommunications services, health care centres, schools, shops, places of worship and community centres. Emaar's other projects in Egypt include Uptown Cairo, a four-million-square-metre development comprising 11 villages with private clubs, hotels and a golf course. There is also Marassi, a Mediterranean-style development close to Alexandria with 1,544 acres of waterfront; and Cairo Gate, which will include a shopping mall, luxury hotels, and townhouses and villas. Another project, New Cairo City, is to be a residential community near the American University in Cairo, with 5,000 luxury homes. rditcham@thenational.ae