Expat relocation Egypt Saudi Middle East ..
Mobility Management Middle East

Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh to be world's largest

Few weeks after the Egyptian Parliament ratified the country’s new investment law, Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has announced a $800-million investment to expand the Four Seasons resort of Sharm El Sheikh to make it the world's largest Four Seasons resort.

A total of 800 new rooms will soon be added to the existing property, bringing the total number of keys to 1,400.

Easing investment opportunities, cutting down bureaucracy and providing incentives to investors, the new law is expected to further boost the tourism and construction sectors in Egypt. According to the latest BNC report released by The Big 5 Construct Egypt (“Egypt Tourism and Hospitality Market Snapshot 2017”), there are over $335 billion worth of active construction projects in the country, five per cent of which belong to the hospitality sector.

“Thanks to a recovered political stability, state-led initiatives and the new investment law, we expect the tourism sector, which is vital to Egypt’s economy, to pick up in 2017, further inflating the demand for new hotels and resorts,” said Andy Pert, exhibitions portfolio director, of The Big 5 Construct Egypt, a leading international construction event launching in Cairo in 2018.

There are approximately $5.3 billion worth of hospitality projects in Egypt today, 70 per cent of which are in the initial stages of construction showing a healthy pipeline, as per The Big 5 Construct Egypt’s report. Beyond the Four Season resort, other notable projects currently under way to attract tourists include the Ritz-Carlton Resort in Sharm El Sheikh, and the Jumeirah Gamsha Bay Resort in Hurgada.

New developments in the hospitality industry are spread across the country, with Cairo’s rapid urban expansion fuelling the demand for additional hotels and resorts in the capital city, which already hosts over 20 million people.

To meet this growing demand, a leading international exhibition company, dmg events Middle East, Asia & Africa, is bringing to Cairo its most successful and renowned construction event, The Big 5. From September 15 to 17, 2018, the New Cairo Exhibition Centre will host The Big 5 Construct Egypt, where hundreds of local and international manufacturers and suppliers of construction products will showcase the latest global, sustainable innovations and solutions for use in all current and planned developments.

Alongside the exhibition, a Global Meetings programne will enable business matchmaking, while The Big 5’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD)-certified workshops will offer a unique education programme dedicated to active industry professionals. According to the organisers, a high-level, paid-for ‘Big 5 Investor Summit’ will also attract global and regional institutional and private investors in Egypt’s built environment sector, to discuss current and future construction related project opportunities across the country. - TradeArabia News Service


Egypt discovers three millennia-old tombs

CAIRO: Egypt archaeologists have discovered three ancient tombs containing sarcophagi in the south of the country in a cemetery dating back about 2,000 years, the antiquities ministry said on Tuesday.

The tombs excavated in the Al-Kamin Al-Sahrawi area in Minya province south of Cairo were in burial grounds constructed some time between the 27th Dynasty and the Greco-Roman period, the ministry said in a statement.

The team found “a collection of sarcophagi of different shapes and sizes, as well as clay fragments,” the statement quoted Ayman Ashmawy, head of the ministry’s Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector, as saying.

One of the tombs, which was reached through a shaft carved in rock, contained four sarcophagi each sculpted to depict a human face Another tomb held the remains of two sarcophagi and six burial holes, including one for “the burial of a small child.”

Clay fragments found at the site “date the tombs between the 27th Dynasty (founded in 525 BC) and the Greco-Roman era (between 332 BC and the fourth century),” the statement said.

The discovery “suggests that the area was a great cemetery for a long span of time,” it quoted Ashmawy as saying.

In one of the three tombs, excavators found bones believed to be the remains of “men, women and children of different ages,” Ali Al-Bakry, head of the mission, was quoted as saying in the statement.

This shows that “these tombs were part of a large cemetery for a large city and not a military garrisons as some suggest,” he said.

This work follows previous excavation at the site, which began in 2015.

“Works are underway in order to reveal more secrets,” the statement said.

Egypt boasts an array of ancient sites including Pharaonic temples and the famed Giza pyramids that draw millions of tourists every year.


Orange Taxi joins Careem Network

Careem, the region’s leading app-based car booking service, announced expansion of its service in Hurghada with Orange Taxi.

A number of Orange Taxi cabs have already joined the Careem network with more cars expected to join in the coming period.

“Hurghada is one of the most important tourism destinations in the Red Sea. Despite the challenges facing the Egyptian tourism sector, Hurghada welcomed more than 5,000 tourists from around the world last April. With tourism numbers expected to increase, we integrated Orange Taxi into the Careem network to provide safe, convenient transport for tourists and Egyptians alike,” said Ramy Kato, head of Careem Egypt Operations and vice president of Careem Care. “Providing Careem services in Hurghada enables us to enhance our presence in the Egyptian market, support the tourism sector, provide employment opportunities for taxi drivers and continue to develop the transportation sector in Egypt using the latest technology in the field.”

Careem has been operating in Hurghada since December 2016, helping create more job opportunities for local Egyptians and offer affordable, safe, convenient, reliable and quality transport solutions for its citizens as well as providing Captains with additional income. The integration of Orange Taxi aligns with Careem’s strategy to integrate taxis across Egypt within the Careem network, as with the integration of the white taxis in Cairo.

“We have unlimited ambition regarding the Egyptian market. The Careem app is currently available in 14 cities in Egypt. We recently expanded to the Suez Canal area including Port Said, Suez and Ismailia and expansion into Upper Egypt is also in the pipeline,” Kato added.

Careem applies the highest international standards in selecting Captains, whether free captains or taxi captains. Captains must be presentable, hold a driver's license and a national ID number. In addition, all new Captains must pass the customer service training provided by Careem before engaging with customers to ensure customer satisfaction and the proper use of the app. Cars also undergo a set of checks to ensure quality.

As a part of its commitment to provide job opportunities in the markets where it operates, Careem has increased its fleet to 60,000 captains delivering millions of rides across Egypt.

Kato added:”Careem’s ability to create job opportunities, supporting and developing our Captains’ skills, and utilizing modern technology to transform challenges into real opportunities in the tourism sector and beyond, confirm our positive contribution to economic growth in the Egyptian market.” - TradeArabia News Service


Egypt to feature world’s safest nuke technology

As the final contracts for Egypt’s first nuclear power plant at El Dabaa are about to be signed, Egypt is soon set to benefit from some of the most advanced technologies in the world, it appears to be the time to take a closer look at what Egypt’s choice of Rosatom as the main contractor for the project means for the country.

According to the Egyptian side, Rosatom’s proposal for Egypt’s first NPP was selected out of several other vendors’ offers on account of a combination of factors, which included, in addition to technical specifications, the proposed financial terms, and the ability to provide assistance in the development of Egypt’s nuclear infrastructure.

As part of its integrated offer, Rosatom pledged not only to handle all technical aspects of the project – from NPP construction to assistance in its operation and maintenance and waste management – but also to provide any necessary assistance in establishing and developing Egypt’s nuclear infrastructure. This includes advisory support on creating the legislative infrastructure for the peaceful use of nuclear power, technology and knowledge transfer and, above all, creating qualified cadre for Egypt’s burgeoning nuclear industry.

Egypt and Russia already have a history of technical and educational cooperation going back decades and the Egyptian nuclear programme continues the tradition, with joint nuclear courses and exchange programmes at leading Russian nuclear universities available to Egyptian students. This paves the way for a new generation of talented young specialists from a wide range of nuclear-related fields to take Egypt’s science and technology potential to a new level.

That said, Egypt’s prime consideration for the project was and is of course its safety. Egypt’s leadership has on multiple occasions expressed its trust and confidence in Russian nuclear technologies, with President As-Sisi commenting that ‘the agreements on the NPP construction guarantee the compliance with the most modern international standards and specifications to ensure its safety, making it one of the safest NPPs in the world.’

The El Dabaa NPP will feature four Generation 3+ power units of the VVER-1200 type, which are among the most advanced nuclear power reactors in the world and are distinguished by their enhanced safety features and innovations.

They meet the most stringent international safety and security standards and were designed to withstand the most severe conditions and the most extreme circumstances imaginable. The first operational power unit of the kind – Unit 6 of the Novovoronezh NPP in central Russia – underwent numerous stress tests simulating events far more hypothetically unlikely than those that occurred during the incident at the Fukushima NPP.

The El Dabaa NPP will meet even higher technical requirement. Specifically, it will be designed to withstand such catastrophic events as a total power loss for 72 hours and collision with a large commercial aircraft (a medium-sized aircraft in the Novovoronezh NPP), without posing a threat to the environment or human health.

Considering how implausible these types of scenarios are in real life, it is perfectly safe to say that the people of Egypt and the residents of the El Dabaa region specifically have nothing to worry about when it comes to the NPP’s safety. Unit 6 of the Novovoronezh NPP was visited shortly after its launch by the head of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) Jacques Regaldo, who commended the design and its safety features.

In the spring of 2017, members of Egypt’s parliament visited the site of the Leningrad NPP near St Petersburg, where another VVER-1200 Generation 3+ unit is under construction, and spoke enthusiastically about the technology they saw on display.

The head of Egyptian parliament’s Energy Committee Talaat El Swedi expressed his confidence about the technology that is to be implemented in the El Dabaa NPP project.

“We’ve seen for ourselves and we want to let the people of Egypt know that the future Egyptian NPP will be safe and financially feasible,” he said.

Later in 2017, the same site was inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukia Amano, who was impressed by the unit’s safety features to comment, ‘The VVER-1200 unit’s multi-level safety system produces a very powerful impression – in the event one system fails, another comes into effect, which is very correctly done.’

With testaments to the VVER-1200 technology’s safety and innovation coming from such diverse and authoritative quarters as heads of international energy associations and Egypt’s own experts, the people of Egypt can rest assured they’re getting the best in nuclear power generation and safety technologies for their country as Egypt’s nuclear dream is about to come true.


Contract awarded for 'Smiles of Jeddah Park'

Makkah Govenor Prince Khaled Al-Faisal has signed a contract for the project that aims to give facelift to the entrance to Jeddah city from the new King Abdul Aziz Airport.

This project will enhance the appearance of the intersection of Al-Nuzha Road with Madinah Road with a park, which the prince named as “The Smiles of Jeddah Park.” Work will be completed within 12 months, said an Arab News report.

During the signing ceremony, which took place in the governorate headquarters in Jeddah, Prince Khaled said “The Smiles of Jeddah Park” will be a wonderful welcome from Jeddah to its visitors.

The project covers an area of 600,000 sq m and will include building of five pillars representing the pillars of Islam; two large structures which highlight the word Jeddah, both in English and Arabic; planting of 75 palm trees; and covering over 176,000 sq m with natural and artificial grass supplied with a modern irrigation network.


Expats feel the pinch of new fee

JEDDAH — Expats going on vacation with their families in this peak holiday season felt the pinch of the new dependent fee, which came into force on Saturday, when they tried to pay the exit-reentry visa fee for family members.

Those who wanted to pay the exit-reentry visa fee for their family members were prompted by the online payment system to first clear the dependent fee for the remaining months of the validity of their iqamas (residence permits).

From Saturday evening till Sunday morning, the online payment system was displaying only exit-reentry fees. But hours later it started displaying complete and accurately calculated amount of dependent fee based on the validity of iqama against each dependent.

The payment of dependent fee is not only directly linked with the renewal of iqama but also the issuance of exit-reentry visa, whichever comes first.

The exit-reentry process can be done against single individual dependent by paying the fee till the date of the validity of iqama. However, for the renewal of iqama it is mandatory to settle the amount for all dependents, according to a human resources expert of a leading business firm.

“The fee mechanism falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance. Passport Department (Jawazat) has nothing to say. It is working according to the new system,” a senior Jawazat official told Saudi Gazette.

As part of the government’s Fiscal Balance Program, a resident’s dependent is expected to pay SR1,200 for one year as of July 1, 2017.

All dependents are included in the regulation, including children, wife, as well as maids and drivers working directly for a sponsor.

Monthly fee for each dependent costs SR100 this year. It will increase by SR100 per month every year reaching SR400 by 2020 for each dependent.

This will generate SR1 billion in revenue by the end of the year and SR65 billion by 2020, according Okaz Arabic daily.

Saliha Gardezi, a Pakistani expatriate born in the Kingdom who lives with her British husband and their baby daughter in Riyadh, said: “I totally understand Saudi Arabia’s need to give more opportunities to its nationals and tackle unemployment. However, the decision to effectively tax expats to the point that many of them will be forced to leave is demeaning to those people who have also contributed to the country’s development alongside their Saudi brothers and sisters.”

Omar Ghazi, an Egyptian national living in Riyadh, said the new fees will gradually affect residents in the Kingdom.

“Low-income and middle class families with children will have to send their family members on final exit,” he said, adding, “I’ve seen many people who have already done this.”

Farah Al-Ahmar, a Jordanian national who grew up in the Kingdom and is currently seeking better job opportunities abroad, said the fees will be a burden on families. “It’s becoming costly for families, especially those who have several children. Such additional fees are putting pressure on non-Saudis living here,” she said.


Saudi train fares ‘to be competitive compared to air ticket prices’

RIYADH: Train fares within the Kingdom will be competitive compared to the cost of traveling by air, an official of the Saudi Railway Company (SAR) told local media. Bashar bin Khaled Al-Malik, chief executive of SAR, said the Kingdom has completed the majority of its planned railway network, notably in Makkah and the Northern Borders regions.

Some commercial operations have begun, while the Makkah-Madinah railway line is expected to go into commercial operation before the end of 2017, Al-Malik told the Al-Eqtisadiah daily.

The central and eastern regions will later be linked with a new line, in addition to the development of an existing track, Al-Malik said.

Outstanding works include linking the western and eastern parts of the Kingdom through the “land bridge” between Jeddah and Riyadh, which is expected to be implemented in the next year. The southern part of the Kingdom will be also linked with the western part under a strategic plan set by SAR and the Public Transport Authority (PTA), Al-Malik said. The train systems deployed in the Kingdom are considered the most advanced, to the extent that the majority of European countries have not yet applied the technology, Al-Malik said. The systems include a way to monitor train movements, departure timings, routes and speeds.

Al-Malik said Saudi rail projects have attracted a large number of national companies and Saudi engineers, whether in the form of sub-contracting or direct awarding contracts. Operation of the rail projects will come in the form of contracts with foreign firms, while the role of SAR will be to supervise the operators, Al-Malik said.


CNIM-led consortium wins Kuwait waste treatment project

A consortium led by French Constructions Industrielles de La Mediterranee (CNIM) has been chosen to execute the Kabd Municipal Solid Waste Project, Kuwait Authority for Partnership Projects (KAPP) has said.

The consortium will have a concession period of 25 years, in addition to 44 months for designing and construction, a Kuwait News Agency report quoting the KAPP said.

The CNIM consortium will include Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC) and Al Mulla Group.

Under the project, a solid waste treatment plant with a capacity of 3,275 tonnes per day will be constructed in the Kabd area, 35 km away from Kuwait City.

The project covers a total area of 500,000 sq m and will provide a number of services including treatment of waste using incinerators for generating electricity.


Kuwait increases power, water rates for some sectors

Kuwait introduced new electricity and water rates for the investment sector yesterday (August 22), saying it will encourage consumers to rationalise consumption.

The new rates are five fils (nearly $0.016) per kWh of electricity and KD2 ($6.63) per 1,000 imperial gallons of water, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Electricity and Water for Planning and Training Dr Mashaan Al-Otaibi was quoted as saying in a Kuwait News Agency report.

New tariffs were implemented for the commercial sector in May. Tariffs will rise for the government sector from 2 fils to 25 fils per kWh and from KD0.8 to KD4 per 1,000 gallons from November 22, Dr Al-Otaibi said.

"The ministry consumes 350,000 barrels of oil a day to generate power and this figure could hit two million bpd in 2035 if extravagant consumption continued," he added.


Kuwait, China sign housing, infrastructure deals

Kuwait and China have signed a number of agreements in the fields of housing and infrastructure, as well as for the establishment of a Chinese cultural centre in Kuwait.

This follows talks between Kuwaiti First Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

They reviewed relations between Kuwait and China in various fields, mainly economy, trade and investment, a Kuwait News Agency report said.


Omani projects to offer 5,000 homes for expats

Expatriates in Oman will be offered more than 5,000 homes across the sultanate under an ambitious OR4 billion ($10.39 billion) programme as part of the five Integrated Tourism Complex (ITC) projects.

Each of the complexes offers hundreds of homes for all nationalities, said a Times of Oman report.

Currently, non-Omanis can only buy property within Integrated Tourism Complexes but the government is pushing to create more such projects, as part of its move away from dependence on oil and gas, the report said.

Mubarak bin Hamad Al Alawi, advisor of legal affairs at Ministry of Tourism (MoT), told Times of Oman that these projects include Diyar Ras Al Hadd Resort, Omagine Project, Quriyat Integrated Project, Naseem A'Sabah Project and Al Nakheel Project.

“Oman has taken a positive step by opening up the real estate market to Omanis, GCC citizens and other nationalities. The government has received a number of applications," he said.

Al Alawi said a royal decree has allowed non-Omanis to own lands and units in the integrated tourism complexes that are certified by the related entities in the Sultanate. The ownership is granted for two purposes: residence and investment, by any free ownership means, as long as it doesn’t violate the country’s regulations on the subject.

Diyar Ras Al Hadd Project will have 700 residential properties, while Omagine Project in Seeb will have more than 2,000 homes available. Naseem A’Sabah in Seeb will have more than 1,200 residential units, five star hotels, retail zones and a yacht club, as well as leisure zones and restaurants.

Al Nakheel Project in Barka will include hotels and hotel apartments, 1,436 residential apartments, villas and houses which will be available for ownership for all nationalities and citizens, the report said.


Oman launches eVisa service in bid to boost tourism sector

First phase will include visitors from 67 countries as well as GCC residents employed in 116 professions

Oman's new airport, currently under construction, will have the capacity to cater for the expected increase in tourism numbers.

Oman has launched an eVisa service in a bid to boost the Gulf country's tourism sector.

Officials said the eVisa system will also allow Oman to receive more tourists from key markets such as China, Russia and the US and drive the demand for experiential travel to the Sultanate.

The first phase comprises non-sponsored tourist visas for people from 67 countries as well as GCC residents employed in 116 professions, it added.

Through the eVisa system, visitors can get their visa applications processed in accordance with the laws and regulations of Oman.

Tourists will only need to fill up the form online and attach the necessary documents as well as pay the application by credit card through a global payment gateway that is officially certified by Oman.

All applicants will receive notifications through the emails provided.

Salim Adi Al Mamari, director general of Tourism Promotion at the Ministry of Tourism, Oman, said: “The sultanate’s announcement of the eVisa system will ensure the continuous growth of Oman’s tourism sector in the coming years as this provides not only tourists but also investors, businessmen, researchers and students easier access to visa processing. "Last year, the number of tourist arrivals reached three million and it is expected to increase to more than 4 million by 2020,” he added.


Masdar signs EPC contract to build Oman wind farm

Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, has signed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with a global consortium comprising GE and Spain’s TSK to build the first large-scale wind farm in Oman and the GCC.

The Dhofar Wind Power Project is a result of the joint development agreement that was established in 2014 between Masdar and the Rural Areas Electricity Company of Oman (Raeco), reported Wam, the Emirates official news agency.

Funding for the wind farm is provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), a leading national entity supporting global socio-economic development initiatives.

The 50 MW wind farm takes its name from the southern Omani governorate bordering Yemen, the largest of the sultanate’s 11 governorates, and will electrify an estimated 16,000 homes and offset 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, chief executive officer of Masdar, said: "Oman has immense untapped potential in renewable energy, particularly in solar and wind. Masdar is proud to be supporting the historically close ties between the UAE and the sultanate by providing our experience and expertise from delivering cutting-edge renewable energy solutions across the world. The Dhofar Wind Power Project will play an important role in supporting the diversification of Oman’s energy mix, while providing a reliable source of clean power to serve its growing population and economy."

Saleh Bin Nasser Al Rumhi, chief executive officer of Raeco, said: "We are pleased to be supporting this project and the construction of the Dhofar Wind Power Project, which will be launched after signing of the project development agreement with Masdar in 2014."

"This project represents a fundamental shift in clean energy projects in the region and in the sultanate in particular. It is the first project of its kind in the Gulf region and will offset 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

"The signing of this agreement signifies a major step in the development of the Dhofar Wind Power Project and is testimony to the strong relationship between the Sultanate of Oman and the UAE. We look forward to the signing of other associated agreements related to the project this October,” he added.

Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, director general of ADFD, said: "We are proud to fund the Dhofar Wind Power Project, the first of its kind in Oman with its innovative technology and which, upon completion, will contribute to the sultanate’s position as a clean energy leader in the region and will represent seven per cent of the total installed power generation capacity in the Dhofar governorate, including its capital city Salalah, a major port and free zone.”

"Over the past four-and-a-half decades, the Fund has been an instrumental and integral global development aid entity committed to supporting sustainable economic growth around the world," he added.

"This 50 MW project will not only serve as a model of modern power generation but more importantly, demonstrate the commercial viability of wind technology in the sultanate. In addition, it will help facilitate greater knowledge transfer in renewable energy between the UAE and Oman. Today, this multi-partner initiative is another strategic clean energy endeavour ADFD is pleased to support,” Al Suwaidi concluded.

GE will lead the EPC consortium, and will provide the project’s 13 wind turbines powered by the company’s latest 3.8-MW wind turbine generator solution. Built upon the technology of its predecessors, the turbine represents the latest development in GE’s wind turbine platform, increasing both annual energy production and flexibility in operation. TSK will support the consortium partners with the construction of the balance of plant.

For Masdar, this is yet another milestone in the field of wind energy after having developed the 117-MW Tafila wind farm in Jordan, the Middle East’s first utility-scale wind power project. Masdar is also leading new developments in the offshore wind industry through its investment in Hywind Scotland, the world’s first commercial-scale floating offshore wind farm and Masdar’s latest project in the UK, in addition to the London Array and Dudgeon offshore wind farms.


Qatar begins development of Doha Corniche

Qatar’s Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has started development and maintenance works on Doha Corniche, a report said.

Ashghal plans to develop and maintain corniches in Doha and Al Khor, in addition to developing Al Wakrah Beach, reported Gulf Times.

Development works on the corniche in Doha includes pedestrian paths, car parks and restrooms, Ashghal said, adding that works to develop and maintain the corniche in Al Khor will start in the last quarter of 2017.

It will also start developing Al Wakrah Beach in the first quarter of 2018 including building of car parks, restrooms, and cafeterias, the report said.


Qatar announces new airport tax for passengers

Standard and transit passengers to be charged $10 from 30 August, levy follows similar moves in the UAE

Qatar's government will levy a new airport tax on passengers from Tuesday, according to a circular to travel agents, as the country seeks new revenue streams amid falling oil prices.

Every passenger leaving Qatar from Doha's Hamad International Airport, including transit passengers, will be charged 35 riyals ($9.61) for using airport facilities, Qatar Airways advised local travel agents in the circular seen by Reuters.

The circular said the charge would apply to tickets issued after Aug. 30 and for any travel starting Dec. 1 onwards.

A Qatar Airways and a Qatar government spokesperson were not immediately available to comment.

Airport fees, while common elsewhere in the world, have until recently been avoided by Gulf states as they seek to gain a competitive advantage for business and become regional hubs.

Some 1.33 million passengers travelled through Hamad International Airport in June.

Airports in the United Arab Emirates announced similar taxes earlier this year.

Interest rates are rising in the Gulf as low oil prices pressure governments' finances, so Qatar has been looking at ways other than borrowing to fund its projects, including raising local gasoline prices.

Qatar has said it expects to post a deficit of 46.5 billion riyals ($12.8 billion) in 2016, its first in 15 years, and to run a deficit for at least three years as low natural gas and oil prices weigh on its revenues as it prepares to host the soccer World Cup in 2022.


Two Pearl Qatar towers to launch this month

HIGH-END PROJECT: UDC boss Jerry Jackson also described the Pearl Qatar project as developing “very, very well” and said that residents in the communities now numbered around 1,500.(ITP Images)

Progress at the landmark Pearl Qatar project is continuing at pace, with two new communities planned to come online this month, an executive linked to the development has said.

“We are currently continuing to open additional retail, and additional towers with some of our developer partners,” Jerry Jackson, technical director of United Development Company (UDC), told Arabian Business.

“We also have our newest developments at Medina Centrale and Qanat Quartier that are coming online in the next month.”

Jackson also described the Pearl Qatar project as developing “very, very well” and said that residents in the communities now numbered around 1,500.

The Pearl Qatar is a giant mixed-used project based on reclaimed land, sited around 20 km north of Doha’s city centre. UDC is the master developer for the 400 acre development.

The site is linked to the Qatari mainland via a causeway, and will have 20km of beaches along its shoreline.

It comprises ten‘themed’ districts, three five-star hotels and two million sq m of retail, restaurant and entertainment space.

Qanat Quartier – which is branded as ‘Venetian charm meets Arabian chic’ – will feature canals and a marina, as well as a mixture of apartment and townhouse residential property.

Medina Centrale is the island’s ‘town centre’; a low-rise retail development based around a town square and adjacent streets.


Emaar announces plans for new Dubai Hills Mall

Emaar Properties has unveiled plans to build a new mall in the Dubai Hills Estate, one of the largest master-planned communities being developed in Dubai, UAE, in joint venture with Meraas.

Scheduled to open in late 2019, Dubai Hills Mall will feature 2 million sq ft of leasable space spread out over ground and first floor levels, more than 750 retail and food and beverage outlets, family entertainment.

The mall will also feature a cineplex, a 65,000-sq-ft hypermarket, seven anchor retail experience stores, and dedicated parking spaces for over 7,000 vehicles.

Located on the corner for Al Khail Road and Umm Suqeim street, the mall can be seamlessly accessed from Downtown Dubai, Emirates Hills, Dubai Marina, Arabian Ranches and other nearby communities.

The architecture and interiors take inspiration from the concept of a central courtyard with a series of interconnected streetscapes. The angular layout provides easy orientation and a clear focus on the central space for events and special features. The exterior boulevards and concert spaces offer more leisure options, making the mall a perfect escape for all types of visitors, Emaar said.

Abdulla Al Habbai, group chairman of Meraas, said: “As the centrepiece of Dubai Hills Estate, a Smart city of the future, the Dubai Hills Mall will bring incredible value to the mega-development and further energise Dubai’s retail sector.”

Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, said: “Integrating advanced technology features with the principles of a regional mall, it will be a socially and culturally inspiring space for people, young and old, residents and visitors, to meet, connect and relax.”

The mall complements the destination's high-end residential, commercial and office spaces, chic hospitality offerings, enriching leisure facilities and its prestigious golf fairways.

Dubai Hills Estate includes a championship golf course and a central park surrounded by 4,400 villas and townhouses, and 22,000 apartments. - TradeArabia News Service


UAE excise tax effective October 1

The Excise Tax Law shall come into play effective October 1 in the UAE, Ministry of Finance was quoted as saying by Wam, the Emirates official news agency.

"The Tax shall impact all excise goods consumed inside the country, including all the country's free zones and ports," said Younis Haji Al Khouri, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance, in exclusive statements to Wam.

"Commodities carried away out of the country by outbound travelers shall not be impacted by the tax, while those carried into the country shall be subject to the new law," he added.

The official statements come on the heels of the issuance of the Federal Decree-Law No 7 of 2017, whereby the tax shall be imposed on the "Excise Goods", which, along with the method of calculating the Excise Price, are subject to a decision by the UAE Cabinet, upon the recommendation of the Minister of Finance, provided that the tax rates do not exceed 200 per cent of the Excise Price.

The Excise Tax, which in itself is an indirect type of taxation, will help build a healthier and safer society. This tax is set to discourage the consumption of products that negatively impact the environment and, more importantly, people’s health, while the revenues it generates will go towards supporting advanced services for all members of society.

Al Khouri said the Executive Regulations shall determine the procedures, controls and percentage of the tax, which he explained will reach 100 percent for tobacco and energy drinks and 50 percent for sugary fizzy drinks. He affirmed that there are no other goods until now determined to be subject to the new tax.

As per initial estimates, the tax is forecast to generate up to around Dh7 billion ($1.9 billion) in annual revenues for the Federal Budget.

The Decree-Law also determines the specific dates for accounting for the tax, namely: the date on which the Excise Goods are imported, the date on which the Excise Goods were acquired by the Stockholder, if after the Decree-Law came into effect, or the date it came into effect otherwise, and in all other cases the date on which the Excise Goods were released for consumption. The release for consumption shall further be clarified in the Executive Regulation of the Decree-Law.


UAE excise tax effective October 1

Al Forsan Real Estate, the property arm of Al Forsan Holding, has announced that its leasing out its Type 1 and Type 2 villas for Dh245,000 ($66,690) and Dh265,000 respectively in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The Al Forsan Village project, spread across 241,985 sq m, has 385 villas and also encompasses 440 units of one- to four-bedroom apartments. In addition to UAE nationals, Al Forsan Village is now home to several nationalities.

Type 1 is a three-storey villa and is spread across 680 sq m with four bedrooms, a garden, two-car garages along with a garden and a courtyard. The storied Type 2 villa, spread across 805 sq m, has five bedrooms, games and theatre room, three-car garages, a ladies and gentlemen’s majilis coupled with a well manicured garden and a courtyard.

“We have launched this special summer offer for people to get a first-hand experience of our vibrant community in the heart of Abu Dhabi. This ready-to-move-in development is equipped with all the amenities that a family needs. Al Forsan Village is an ideal community living destination as we have embedded several unique features right from a large retail community destination, to a five-star hotel and the community is located adjacent to a world-class sports resort,” said Rashed Al Qubaisi, general manager of Al Forsan Holding.

Inspired by Petra, these lavish dwellings in the Al Forsan Village community infuse strong design features with soothing colours and is one of the key features of the project, a statement said.

Expatriates and investors can continue to lease the luxurious ‘Type 1’ and ‘Type 2’ villas at this vibrant community in Khalifa City ‘A’ Area, it added.

Al Forsan Village provides a broad mix of accommodation types to suit different lifestyles and family requirements, from comfortable and easily managed townhouses, to truly substantial and luxurious detached villas for extended family living.

Spread across 15,000 sq m, Al Forsan Village Town Square, the retail and leisure destination embedded within the project, is also home to several ‘community focused’ brands. Most of the renowned retails stores such as Spinneys, Holland & Barrett, Tilia Flowers, illy café, Just Kidding, Street9 Café, Cheeky Monkeys, Coffee Club, Champion Cleaners, Oregano Café, and Physiomins among several others are already operational. The retail community is expected to have close to 17 stores to address the needs of the residents.

“An expert team of internationally-acclaimed architects and designers have carefully planned minute details of the Al Forsan Village development, from the central hub with its concentration of upscale retail and commercial offerings, to the discreet avenues of luxury villas radiating out in landscaped semi-circles,” added Al Qubaisi. – TradeArabia News Service


Iran launches its biggest solar power plant

Iran has inaugurated its biggest solar plant, which has a capacity to generate 20 MW of electricity, in Kerman Province.

The Mokran Solar Power Plants Complex was constructed in six months, an Iran Daily report said.

Made up of two 10 MW photovoltaic units, the project was financed with $27 million by Swiss company Durion, and supervised by a German company, Adore.

The complex was built with a total of 76,912 solar panels, each producing 260 watts over an area of 44 hectares, the report said.

A number of countries including Switzerland, Germany, Spain, China and South Korea have shown interest in investing in renewable energies in Iran.

Iran's Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian said there have been offers of over $3.5 billion in foreign investment so far and it is the most attractive field since the nuclear deal.

Mokran Solar Energy company has also started the construction of a 100 MW solar power plant.

With over 300 sunny days and an average of 2,800 hours of sunshine, Iran is considered one of the best countries for producing and using solar energy, the report said.


Mobility Management Middle East

Middle East:
Saudi Arabia

Ivory Coast

Other Countries: