Egypts revolution has transformed from a social one on the streets of Cairo into an economic one inside the Jollie Ville congress centre in Sharm el-Sheikh. In mid-March, investors from across the world, particularly the Gulf region, will flock to Egypts coastal city for a three-day conference that will showcase some of the biggest and most ambitious projects in Egypts history.
From energy and utilities to infrastructure and real estate; the authorities are leaving no stone unturned and, as they aim to attract billions of dollars-worth of investments to restart the Egyptian economy.
The concern is that Egypt may be revisiting its age-old problem of overpromising and under delivering. While it is expected that many of the much-needed energy and utilities projects will materialise, the same cannot be said for real estate and construction.
Over the past few weeks, MEED has reported several ambitious real estate projects that have been announced by the Housing Ministry and a number of private developers. To name but a few, there is the $19bn October Oasis proposal, the $203m Sinai development fund as well as the UAE-backed 136-square-kilometre Eagle Hills new city project and the long-awaited Arabtec 1 million-home megaproject.
Egypt does face major housing difficulties; yet it seems that only Arabtecs affordable housing programme addresses the issue. Sources close to the project have told MEED the deal with the relevant parties is expected to be finalised during the conference, yet in typical manner, movement has been slow and there has been little to indicate the projects inception.
The problems lay within the domestic market. Some fear that outside of public housing schemes, the demand for private real estate does not meet the scale of projects proposed, which means project financing and the long-term cash flow of these projects may prove tricky for developers. This means that while contractors may eye up Egypts projects market today, in the future many may discover that their excitement has been misplaced.