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Wed 6 Feb 2008 02:08 AM

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Maabar unveils $10bn Tunis plan

UAE developer's 'Town of Flowers' complex will be one of Africa's biggest real estate projects.

A $10 billion tourism, office and housing complex north of Tunis will be one of Africa's biggest real estate projects and will take 20 years to complete, the project's manager said on Tuesday.

Al Maabar, a UAE-based venture of Aldar Properties and Sourouh Real Estate, plans to build the Bled El Ward (Town of Flowers) complex of homes, offices, trade centres, hotels, golf courses and a health city over 5,000 hectares.

"We plan to build one of the biggest projects on the African continent," said Yousef Al Nowis, the managing director of Al Maabar International Investments.

The development will be in Raoued, a northern suburb of Tunis, with a total cost of $10 billion.

"The project needs 20 years to finish. But work on the first stage will start as soon as possible to build 1,200 homes. They will be ready in five years," Al Nowis told reporters in the Tunisian capital.

He said the project would create 6,000 jobs during the first phase worth $2.83 billion.

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

The north African country is trying to match Morocco's success in luring Arab Gulf petrodollars into high-profile tourism and real estate projects. (Reuters)

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