Emaar: $20bn Algeria deal is on track
Access to land is a difficult issue for Emaar Properties - as well as other investors in Algeria - but is not blocking the firm's big investment there, a newspaper on Sunday reported a company official as saying.
Sofian Abdelwahab, Dubai-based Emaar's representative in Algeria, was quoted by El Watan as saying the firm was working "normally" with the state to advance the $20 billion venture, the north African country's largest ever property development.
"This [access to land] is the problem faced by all investors. It is a difficult question to be resolved and the group is aware of this difficulty," Abdelwahab was quoted as saying.
He was reacting to local press reports that Emaar had "frozen" the venture due to red tape and lack of land.
Abdelwahab was quoted as saying: "I have absolutely no information on that. We continue to work normally with the Algerian authorities, particularly the Industry and Investment Promotion Ministry."
Emaar plans to build four projects in and around the capital Algiers. The ventures – a new town called Sidi Abdellah, a tourist resort, a health resort and redevelopment of the Algiers waterfront – are intended to create several thousand jobs in sectors such as tourism, information technology and health.
The announcement marks the highest-profile development yet in Algeria's lengthy attempt to deepen Arab interest as it tries to lessen reliance on oil and gas and is ploughing record energy revenues into a programme of reconstruction and development.
Investors often cite land problems as a constraint, complaining that the legal and financial procedures surrounding commercial and industrial property tend to be complex and that the Algerian administration is slow.
Emaar, working on a series of property developments across the Arab world and south Asia, is 31.88 per cent owned by the government of Dubai. (Reuters)
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