Mega Project Reflects Confidence in Tunisia

Mr Farhan Faraidooni, CEO of Sama Dubai, the property development arm of Dubai Holdings, recently announced that the development plans for the project dubbed "Century City" have been approved. An agreement was reached with the Tunisian government and the first stage of the project (which will be located around the former Tunis harbour) will begin shortly.

The announcement comes one year after the Tunisia's President Ben Ali participated in laying the founding stone for the mega project, which is estimated to cost US$30 billion by completion. The US$1.3 billion first stage of the project will comprise of 16 apartment towers constructed over the next 4-5 years. The entire project will take 15-20 years to complete and will eventually house 500,000 people.

Mr Faraidooni spoke at length about the four principal reasons behind his group's decision to invest so heavily in Tunisia: Tunisia's proximity to Europe, the country's political stability, government incentives available to investors and the prime location where the project will be built. Century City will be located on 1000 hectares in the centre of the Tunis, with wonderful views to the sea. It is estimated that a staggering 100,000 people per day will visit the area.

Mohamed Nouri Jouini, Minister of Economic Development and Foreign Investment, stated that the project is expected to generate one million jobs over the next 10 years. Once completed, Century City will offer a vast range of services, and will house 5 and 7 star hotels with a capacity of 12,500 beds. In addition will be the apartment buildings, sports facilities, marinas, cinemas and banks.

James Gonzalez, Obelisk's Market Analyst, sees this massive foreign investment as yet another signal that Tunisia is ready to do business. "More and more investors are beginning to see that Tunisia is a market that offers unique possibilities for the overseas investor. It will also be aided by the fact that its neighbour, Libya, is making great strides moving toward a capitalist economy. Much of this additional business is bound to benefit Tunisia."

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posted by Alison Kane at 11:00 AM

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