Qatari Diar to resume Egypt CityGate project after a four-year pause

Qatari Diar to resume Egypt CityGate project after a four-year pause
Buildings are seen on a coast line in Doha, Qatar, June 15, 2017. (REUTERS)
Short Url
Updated 12 January 2021

Qatari Diar to resume Egypt CityGate project after a four-year pause

Qatari Diar to resume Egypt CityGate project after a four-year pause
  • Qatari Diar owns several projects in Egypt, most notably in New Cairo, the resort of Sharm El-Sheikh and in Hurghada

CAIRO: Nearly a week after the Gulf reconciliation with Qatar, the New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) agreed work could resume on the CityGate project in New Cairo, owned by the Qatari real estate company Qatari Diar, after a four-year pause.

According to Egyptian newspaper Al-Shorouk, the company has obtained approval from the authority to work on the CityGate project, which has been suspended since 2016 due to a dispute between it and NUCA.

East Gate, owner of the development and a Qatari Diar subsidiary, has had its request for a license to resume working on the project approved by the authority, following a court ruling that NUCA was not entitled to ask for fees of EGP 1.379 billion ($88.11 million).

The Qatari company is currently communicating with local contractors in preparation for the resumption of construction work.

Officials said “the first phase of the project will encompass investments worth EGP 1 billion.”

Qatari Diar owns several projects in Egypt, most notably in New Cairo, the resort of Sharm El-Sheikh and in Hurghada.

BACKGROUND

Qatari Diar owns several projects in Egypt, most notably in New Cairo, the resort of Sharm El-Sheikh and in Hurghada.

The Qatari finance minister visited Cairo last Tuesday to participate in the inauguration of the St. Regis Hotels on the Nile Corniche, which has investments of $1.3 billion, and is also owned by Qatari Diar.

According to local media, the construction work of the project amounted to $520 million.

Egypt is a signatory of the AlUla Summit agreement on the statement of Arab reconciliation, and the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that this “comes within the framework of Egypt’s keenness on solidarity between the Arab Quartet countries.”


Drive helps SMEs enter Saudi market

Drive helps SMEs enter Saudi market
Updated 37 min 1 sec ago

Drive helps SMEs enter Saudi market

Drive helps SMEs enter Saudi market
  • They will be the main target of the export initiative, which is estimated by the Indonesian Ministry of Trade to be able to generate $60 million

JAKARTA: Indonesia has launched a campaign to help small firms in the country compete for millions of dollars-worth of food trade in Saudi Arabia.

The government aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) improve the quality and competitiveness of their products to meet the Kingdom’s required standards, Indonesian trade and commerce officials have said.

Under normal circumstances, before the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, around 1.5 million Indonesians a year make the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj and Umrah and hundreds of thousands work in the Kingdom.

They will be the main target of the export initiative, which is estimated by the Indonesian Ministry of Trade to be able to generate $60 million.

To meet the Saudi food regulator’s standards, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin), the Ministry of Trade, and the Ministry of Cooperatives and Small-Medium Enterprises have teamed up to assist SMEs in improving products such as bottled chili sauce, soya sauce, coffee, tea, and sugar that are in highest demand among Indonesians in Saudi Arabia.

Kadin chairman, Rosan Roeslani, told Arab News: “We have facilitated five small-medium enterprises that produce soya sauce to obtain Saudi Food and Drug Authority approval for distribution, while nine tea and coffee producers are in the pipeline to also obtain a license. We have also submitted the application for four bottled chili sauce producers.”

While travel and pilgrimage restrictions remain in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak, he said that the time before things get back to normal will be used to prepare the SMEs — which contribute 60 percent to the country’s gross domestic product and employ up to 90 percent of its workforce — for expansion into the Saudi market as soon as the pilgrimage sector resumes.

“We still have time to groom them as there are many aspects such as hygiene, and consistency in their product quality and quantity that they need to improve,” Roeslani added.

In 2014, the Ministry of Religious Affairs issued a regulation obliging catering companies that provided food and drink to Indonesian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia to source their products from Indonesian producers whenever possible.

Indonesia’s vice religious affairs minister, Zainut Tauhid Sa’adi, said that as each Indonesian pilgrim received food from caterers an average 75 times during his or her pilgrimage, demand was high but supply in Saudi Arabia remained limited and similar products from India and Thailand had been used instead.

Kasan Muhri, director general for export development at the Ministry of Trade, told Arab News that the program to prepare the SMEs had been in the making since 2017 and officials eventually decided to launch it this year despite the COVID-19 restrictions.

“Just because there are few Umrah pilgrims now and this year’s Hajj remains uncertain, it does not mean that the market is gone.

“People from around the world would still go to Saudi Arabia to perform the pilgrimage, not just Indonesians, so we are doing this to anticipate the market when the economy revives, and things are recovered. We don’t want to be left behind,” Muhri said.

Besides food and beverage products, officials say they are also looking into the possibility of exporting items such as goodie bags, prayer beads, and other pilgrimage accessories made by Indonesian SMEs.