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UAE developer to build $2bn project in Egypt’s New Cairo

UAE new cairo Shutterstock
Egypt's burgeoning New Cairo area is home to Cairo Festival City Mall, a shopping centre and public space
  • Contracts signed for The Crest development
  • UAE’s UDC to present plan this year
  • Attracting FDI priority for government

Egypt’s New Urban Communities Authority and the UAE’s UDC Real Estate Development Company have signed a contract to develop an EGP60 billion ($1.9 billion) urban development project in New Cairo.

Named The Crest, the development in the Hadayek Al-Andalus area will be built on a plot spanning 665,000 sq m. It will comprise residential, commercial and administrative buildings as well as entertainment venues and hotels, the Egyptian government said in a Facebook post.

UDC is a subsidiary of the UAE-based Mohammad Omar bin Haider Group. Its chief executive officer Mohammed Zahid Al-Batarni said the land value will be paid in foreign currency.

Al-Batarni added that the project will attract companies to Egypt, thus providing foreign currency and creating job opportunities.

“Opportunities abound within the Greater Cairo residential market to cater to various income groups,” said Mansoor Ahmed, executive director for the Middle East and North Africa at real estate consultancy company Colliers.

“There remains a discernible gap for mid-high to high-income individuals seeking premium, master-planned communities for both residential living and investment purposes.”

Egypt has long struggled to attract foreign direct investment outside its energy sector, partly due to concerns surrounding the rules that protect investors and excessive red tape.

However President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has made addressing this a priority as he intends to increase the role of the private sector in the country’s economy.

The government aims to attract around $12 billion in foreign direct investment in the current financial year, which runs to June, according to General Authority of Free Zones and Investment chairman Hossam Heiba.

Urban developments in Egypt's New CairoCC BY-SA 4.0/Faris Knight
Urban developments in Egypt’s New Cairo

UDC will present The Crest project plan and the execution schedule within six months from the date of contract signing.

An easing of inflationary pressures is expected to shape recovery in real estate transactions and asset values in Egypt, according to experts from JLL.

James Allan, CEO for the Middle East and Africa at JLL, said: “Real estate continues to be a secure investment, serving as a hedge against current challenges.”

Egypt’s real estate market reported record-breaking sales of EGP700 billion generated by the sector’s top 20 developers, as per the annual real estate report by The Board Consulting. 

The increase was down to a number of reasons, including the rising cost of construction materials, interest rate hikes, surging fuel and diesel costs and the 25 percent devaluation of Egypt’s currency. 

This year, 33,000 residential units are scheduled for completion, mostly apartments in mixed-use developments

Al-Batarni said the company plans to invest further in other projects, given the government support and a conducive business environment.

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