The award of a $400m contract for the renovation of Cairo airport and the shortlisting of groups for the tender to build the estimated $770m Mall of Egypt show that Egypt’s construction sector is starting to pick up again.
After the uprising at the beginning of the year, the construction market came to a standstill. Work on projects initially stopped in January as protests and looting threatened the security of construction workers and equipment.
The collapse of the government meant that the state was unable to press ahead with infrastructure schemes and its ambitious public-private partnership plans.
The private real-estate sector also remained at a standstill as the government began to investigate land deals that were signed by former president Hosni Mubarak’s regime with investors. The investigations resulted in land deals for several large real-estate projects being annulled, including the UAE-based Damac’s Gamsha Bay project.
However, the progress with the UAE-based Majid al-Futtaim’s Mall of Egypt project shows that foreign developers are still able to push ahead with schemes in Egypt.
Unfortunately, this has coincided with fresh protests in Cairo, with thousands of people demanding an end to the military rule that has been in place since Mubarak was deposed. The protests threaten to overshadow the parliamentary elections that are planned for 28 November.
Firms will be hoping that these new political tension can be resolved quickly so that they can get on with their construction projects.