By Shane McGinley
Abu Dhabi's investment arm says deal done for Zayed University campus.
Abu Dhabi has completed a $1bn financing of a new university campus in Abu Dhabi, the investment arm of the emirate announced on Wednesday.
Mubadala Development Company, the Abu Dhabi government-owned investment fund, said it has closed an oversubscribed $1bn non-recourse financing of the Zayed University public-private partnership (PPP) project.
A joint project between Mubadala and Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), the new Zayed University Abu Dhabi campus is currently under construction on a 75 hectare lot located in the New Capital District of Abu Dhabi, near Abu Dhabi International Airport.
The new campus is designed to accommodate 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students and is due to be complete in the third quarter of 2011.
The Zayed University campus PPP is the second major project Mubadala is developing with ADEC. In December 2008 they announced the closing of a $327mn debt package with a 20 year tenor for the Paris-Sorbonne University PPP project on Reem Island.
Mubadala said in September that profit for the first half of the year came in at AED737.7mn ($200.8mn), down 39 percent from a year earlier. However, assets under management grew 46 percent to AED79.4 billion.
Its diverse investment portfolio also includes a 5 percent stake in Ferrari, a 25 percent holding in German firm LeasePlan and a 50 percent interest in Emirates Aluminium.
Does the UAE really need another huge investment in universities? Just ask the heads of the existing post secondary institutions how difficult it is to recruit students and retain them. Getting high quality faculty and keeping them is yet another problem. Ultimately the bottom line rules and quality suffers. For the size of the population do we need over 100 such institutions?
Why invest in universities? Getting students isn't the problem for universities; finding room for them is. I'm not aware of any problems with getting and keeping high quality faculty. If there is a problem, how about offering tenure track positions to non-local faculty? This would certainly help on the retention side of things. The best investment any country can make in its own future is having an educated and thinking population. Schools produce such people.