Egyptian investor to launch multibillion-dollar housing project in Pakistan

(Photo courtesy: project eighteen website)
Updated 07 March 2018
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Egyptian investor to launch multibillion-dollar housing project in Pakistan

KARACHI: Egypt’s Ora Developers and its Pakistani partners plan to launch a multibillion-dollar luxury housing project on the outskirts of Islamabad next month, Senator Usman Saifullah Khan, vice chairman of the Saifullah Group, confirmed to Arab News on Wednesday.
Khan said that the same project would be replicated in Lahore and Karachi by the beginning of next year.
Owned by an Egyptian billionaire, Naguib Sawiris, Ora Developers is a major investor that holds up to 60 percent shares in the multibillion-dollar housing scheme that will soon become visible in the southwest of Islamabad. Success of the project is expected to attract more investment in Pakistan's housing sector.
“Project Eighteen,” a mixed-use development project that will cover 600 acres of land, is a joint venture between Naguib Sawiris, the Saif Group and Kohistan Builders. Commercial activity began earlier this year and the project will be delivered in phases, with delivery against the first phase expected in the next three years.
“Mr. Sawiris is one of the world’s leading investors who always took a very positive view of Pakistan’s investment potential," Khan said. "His first investment was in Mobilink, the country’s largest cellular operator. Mr. Sawiris’ firms have successfully delivered similar real estate projects in Egypt and around the Middle East, though this is his first venture in Pakistan’s real estate sector.”
According to data shared by the developers with Arab News, the project entails the construction of a five-star hotel of 150 rooms, 1,068 housing units, 921 residential apartments, business parks, hospitals, schools and other educational facilities and 13 office buildings. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $2 billion.
“Pakistan’s real estate sector presents a huge economic opportunity. Housing is a basic human need and there is a very large demand at all ends of the market,” Khan maintained.
“It is, however, important that this sector moves away from unproductive speculative activities towards more focused activity that actually meets customer needs and solves our housing problems. It is also important that banking policy is aligned with this so as to ensure that affordable mortgage financing is available to all income groups.”
The builders plan to hand over the constructed housing units and other facilities to local and foreign buyers in the next two to three years. “The management team, a mix of Egyptian and Pakistani experts, is here and they are working on the project to make it a success,” he said.
Khan added that Ora Developers and the Saif Group planned to introduce modern international ways of living to the people of Pakistan, claiming that this dream was gradually turning into reality.
Talking to Arab News, Chairman of the Association of Builders and Developers Arif Yousuf Jeewa said Pakistan faced a shortage of nearly 12 million housing units that may require a massive investment of $180 billion.
“Local and overseas Pakistanis are interested in investing in their country,” he said, “but what we need is infrastructure development.”


In airline-business rarity, Air France picks a woman CEO

In this file photo taken on March 26, 2018, Air France's Executive Vice President Customer Division Anne Rigail speaks during a press conference to announce the re-opening of direct flight between Paris and Nairobi, in Nairobi on March 26, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 28 min 45 sec ago
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In airline-business rarity, Air France picks a woman CEO

  • As of June, there were just 18 women holding down jobs of CEO, president or managing director at airlines around the world, according to the Center for Aviation, an Australia-based airline industry research group

PARIS: When the leaders of global airlines posed for a photo in June, there were 25 men in dark suits and a lone woman in the last seat on the far right.
That could be changing, but very slowly.
Air France announced Wednesday that Anne Rigail will take over as CEO next week. Rigail, a 27-year company veteran and currently an executive vice president, will be the first woman to lead the French carrier, which was formed in 1933. Parent company Air France-KLM Group will continue to be led by a man, however.
Few women have run large airlines. Carolyn McCall was CEO of British low-cost carrier EasyJet for seven years until leaving this year to run British broadcaster ITV. Christine Ourmieres-Widener, the woman in the June photo of CEOs, leads Flybe, a European regional airline that has fewer than 100 planes.
In the United States, Air Wisconsin, a regional airline that operates United Express flights, is led by CEO Christine Deister, and another regional, Cape Air, has a female president, Linda Markham.
But no major US carrier has ever had a female CEO, and only a few women hold other top jobs. In May, JetBlue Airways named Joanna Geraghty president and chief operating officer — the No. 2 job. Tammy Romo has been chief financial officer at Southwest Airlines since 2012, succeeding another woman. Elize Eberwein is an executive vice president at American Airlines.
As of June, there were just 18 women holding down jobs of CEO, president or managing director at airlines around the world, according to the Center for Aviation, an Australia-based airline industry research group. That is unchanged from a 2010 survey.
Women in the industry have said airlines need to do more to recruit and promote women, provide better mentoring, and encourage those who take maternity leave to return to their careers.
The International Air Transport Association — that’s the group whose leaders were pictured in June — has declared gender equality a priority. The group reported in March that only 3 percent of aviation CEOs are women, compared with 12 percent in other industries.
It didn’t help, however, that the association’s new president, Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways, suggested that women aren’t up to the job of running an airline.
“Of course it has to be led by a man, because it is a very challenging position,” he said at a news conference. He later apologized.
As the new CEO at Air France, Rigail will certainly have her challenges. The airline faces contentious wage negotiations with pilots and flight attendants and has been hit by a series of damaging strikes. The last CEO quit after union employees rejected his offer of small pay raises for the next four years.
In a statement issued by Air France, Rigail said she is extremely honored by the promotion. Benjamin Smith, the CEO of parent Air France-KLM Group, said Rigail has always paid special attention to employees, and he expressed confidence that the airline can meet its challenges.