Senior real estate stakeholders, experts, and government officials put the spotlight on the impact of mega projects on Egypt’s real estate sector at the Cityscape Egypt Business Breakfast on Tuesday.
Cityscape Egypt conference is considered the industry’s benchmark for assessing substantial growth in the real estate market, and it is a positive indicator that Egypt has a promising real estate market, Egypt’s assistant minister of housing for technical affairs Khaled Abbas said.
“Implementing Egypt’s strategic plan of doubling the country’s inhabited area by 14% until 2052 requires cooperation between the government and the private sector, in which the government will mainly rely on private sector investors,” Abbas stated, adding that the Ministry of Housing plans to offer lands to investors in new cities, such as Al-Alamein.
Last year, Egypt adopted economic reforms on all levels, including receiving an International Monetary Fund (IMF) $12bn credit facility, and implementing a currency devaluation, which experts say could prove an advantage for foreign investors in 2017, with the potential to pave the way for economic growth in the country.
Reforms have so far proved beneficial for the economy. Earlier this year, the Egyptian Exchange closed at a record high as foreign funds flooded the market—a factor attributed to floating the country’s currency, helping maintain a positive outlook for the year.
In light of the reforms and economic climate, this year’s Cityscape Egypt Business Breakfast panellists provided insights on the status of mega projects, focusing on the New Administrative Capital and the development of the Suez Canal Economic Zone and its overall impact on the country’s real estate sector.
The New Administrative Capital is a 700-sqkm city to be constructed in the desert east of Cairo and is slated to become the new seat of government. Proposals for the city include housing for five million people, over 1,000 mosques, smart villages, industrial zones, a 5,000-seat conference centre, and the world’s largest park.
The Suez Canal is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia and one of Egypt’s main sources of foreign currency.
Panellists examined the projects’ progress and discussed the effect of the currency devaluation on the projects’ progress, as well as how the mega projects will affect the rest of the sectors in terms of human resources and materials, and how smart and sustainable building concepts are being applied. They also assessed which lessons the sector can take from mega project construction.
“There are five key sectors that are considered partners in the development of the Suez Canal Economic Zone. Those are the manufacturing, commercial, logistics, ports, and real estate sectors. They will contribute to implementing a fully integrated project that will achieve the anticipated economic growth during the coming period,” said Ahmed Darwish, chairperson of the General Authority for the Suez Canal Economic Zone.
Darwish added that the authority is currently seeking cooperation with real estate developers to develop integrated urban communities in East Port Said, Qantara, and Ain Sokhna through land partnership, noting that a number of real estate developers are hesitant to sign50-year land usufruct agreements.
“Government-private sector cooperation in land allocation and provision of utility services is vital to realise the Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030,” said Fathallah Fawzy, co-founder of MENA Group and this year’s Cityscape Egypt chairperson.
“The Cityscape Egypt Business Breakfast successfully kicked off the real estate conversation for 2017, providing unique insight into the sector and what to expect for the coming year,” said Tom Rhodes, Cityscape Egypt event director. “When it comes to real estate in Egypt, we’re confident that it still holds great value and is considered a hedge against any economic instabilities.”
Cityscape Egypt will take place from 31 March until 3 April at the Cairo International Convention Centre, preceded by the Cityscape Conference from 29-30 March at the Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski Hotel. For visitors, homebuyers, and investors attending, the exhibition will represent a unique opportunity to see all of Egypt’s new and existing developments under one roof, as well as to explore a wide range of international real estate projects.