Issue No 283 - 15 Sep 2008
Sama Dubai launches $25bn Tunisia project

Sama Dubai, the property unit of Dubai Holding, has begun work on Tunisia's biggest investment project, a $25 billion real estate development expected to create 350,000 jobs, a senior executive said.

Companies from the Gulf region have unveiled a series of ambitious real estate and tourism developments in North Africa, but many have been slow to get off the ground.

"Today we announce the start of work on the first stage of the "Mediterranean Gate" project which includes 16 buildings worth $1 billion," executive chairman Farhan Faraidooni said.

Sama Dubai's luxury development north of Tunis will include apartments, theatres, cinemas, offices and exclusive hotels over 837 hectares (2,092 acres). Last year, company officials estimated the project's value at $14 billion.

"The project will be beneficial for the Tunisian economy as it will support its competitiveness and be beneficial for us too as the Tunisian market is promising and able to lure other investments from Europe," Faraidooni said.

Tunisia is trying to match Morocco's success in luring Arab Gulf petrodollars into high-profile tourism and real estate projects.

The north African country has struggled to lure more investment and accelerate economic growth to levels at which 88,000 youngsters entering the job market every year can find work.

Sama Dubai's Tunis project will create 350,000 jobs, Faraidooni said.

Mohamed Nouri Jouini, Tunisia's Minister of Development and Cooperation, said: "Tunisia plans to create 1 million jobs over the next decade. This project will help us reach our goals and will also contribute to the improvement of revenue per capita."

Source: Trade Arabia News

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