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Dubai World Africa sponsors first East African Investment Conference
The inaugural East African Investment Conference being held in Kigali Rwanda, has attracted prominent industry leaders and sponsors, including massive world market investor Dubai World Africa, to investigate and unlock potential trade and economic opportunities in this emerging region which includes the countries of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
Chairman of Dubai World, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, a leading light amongst some 800 leading business executives from around the world, will be attending the conference which is designed to showcase “Leveraging the East African Market through Trade and Investment” as well as highlight the region’s potential as a commercial platform for servicing the continent.
Already invested in the East African region, specifically in Rwanda, Dubai World Africa intends to develop 5-star hotels and resorts and a variety of upgrades for existing developments including that of the Akagera Game Lodge and Akagera National Park as well as Gorilla Nest Lodge. In the conference’s host city, Dubai World Africa will construct the Kigali Golf Course and Hotel which will offer luxury 5-star accommodation in over 115 rooms and 50 serviced apartments. The development of the soon to be launched residences on the golf estate is also planned for Kigali.
In partnership with the Rwanda Office of Tourism and National Parks, Dubai World Africa will continue the development of the Nyungwe Eco Forest Lodge adjacent to the majestic Nyungwe Rain Forest. Nyungwe is the largest mountain rain forest remaining in Africa, dating back to before the ice age. The pre-historic beauty in this rugged is an ecologically rich international treasure. It is home to 13 recorded species of primates including the magnificent chimpanzees associated with the area. The forest is also the source of the Nile, the world’s longest river, which runs some 6,720km from a trickle of water that springs from the source of Rukarara River, the Nile’s furthest tributary, to Cairo in Egypt. Dubai World Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem lists Africa, along with China and India, as the group’s hotspots for investment. “There are vast opportunities in Africa, opportunities unlike anywhere else in the world. Our presence on the continent places us at an advantage for African investment,” adds Sultan bin Sulayem.
Recognizing the meaningful investment opportunities to be made on the African continent, Dubai World Africa is the investment arm of Dubai World which focuses on the acquisition, development and management of prime assets on the African continent and the Indian Ocean Islands. Headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa at its flagship investment – the iconic V&A Waterfront — Dubai World Africa currently operates in South Africa, Djibouti, Comoros, Zanzibar, Mozambique, Morocco, Senegal and Benin.
Dubai World’s investments vary from its flagship operations DP World, Economic Free Zone; to its huge investments in mining and oil industries; and its iconic developments through Nakheel, of Dubai properties including The Palm Islands, The World development and the recently announced The Universe.
Sultan bin Sulayem has indicated that the company will invest about US$1 billion in Africa over the next five years. “This investment will boost local economies, grow positive international sentiment and develop infrastructure, employment, tourism and, importantly, conservation projects,” notes Sultan bin Sulayem.
In addressing the challenges and risks specific to investment on the continent, Dubai World Africa CEO James Wilson explains that these can be effectively overcome through partnering with Government and the right local entity. This is the company’s preferred method of investment in Africa.
“Government support for an investment is crucial. It ensures the protection of the investment, mitigates risk and secures the various associated fiscal and non-fiscal incentives,” says Wilson.
Government input also serves to facilitate real benefit for local communities. “Our first choice of employment is from within the local population, in order to contribute as much as possible to the local economy,” says Wilson. Dubai World Africa ascribes to hiring skilled people locally, and if not found, explains Wilson, it strives to transfer knowledge through continuous training and support.
“We have the chance to create truly world-class assets in Africa. We are bringing to the continent all the resources, skills and expertise that have helped us transform Dubai into the iconic city that it is today,” says Sultan Bin Sulayem.
Dubai World Africa has a dedicated team seeking investment opportunities in Africa, demonstrating confidence in the economies of the African countries in which it is invested.
It is within this context that Sultan Bin Sulayem is attending the inaugural East African Investment Conference which the Government of Rwanda, through its Agency, the Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (RIEPA), in collaboration with the East African Community Secretariat and the Regional Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) is organizing.
“We are proud to be associated with the RIEPA and the East African Community and have the utmost respect for their tremendous efforts to promote and further investment in the region. This conference signals the beginning of a great event and the strengthening of mutually beneficial commercial links between the Middle East and Africa,” reported Sultan Bin Sulayem.
The East African Community (EAC) is the regional intergovernmental organization of the Republics of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania with its Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The EAC aims at widening and deepening co-operation among the Partner States in, among others, political, economic and social fields for their mutual benefit. To this extent the EAC countries established a Customs Union in 2005 and are working towards the establishment of a Common Market by 2010, subsequently a Monetary Union by 2012 and ultimately a Political Federation of the East African States.
The realization of a large regional economic bloc encompassing Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda with a combined population of 120 million, land area of 1.85 million sq kilometres and a combined gross domestic product of $ 41 billion, bears great strategic and geopolitical significance and prospects of a renewed and reinvigorated East African Community.
The regional integration process is at a high pitch at the moment. The encouraging progress of the East African Customs Union, the ongoing negotiations of the East African Common Market as well as the consultations on fast tracking the process towards East African Federation all underscore the serious determination of the East African leadership and citizens to construct a powerful and sustainable East African economic and political bloc.
Sectors which Dubai World Africa have identified as having excellent potential for its investment include hospitality and tourism. “Potential in these areas can be unlocked by Dubai World Africa’s investment model, both in terms of creating new developments and enhancing existing hotels, resorts and game reserves,” says Wilson.
The company’s extensive expertise is now being complemented by the wealth of knowledge it is gaining from its activities on the African continent, specifically in fields such as conservation and eco-tourism. Conservation is an important focus area of the business, which has established Dubai World Conservation Africa as the holding company for a number of prime game reserves in Africa.
Dubai World Africa has acquired excellent game management skills which are now being applied across the Dubai World Group. The company has adopted a philosophy of responsible and ecologically sensitive investment in Africa, supporting economic growth and community development projects, as well as the conservation of resources and the local environment.
In addition to its Rwandan investment Dubai World Africa’s other investments on the continent include:
The V&A Waterfront is undergoing an extensive expansion which will double the lettable space available and attract major hotel, leisure and retail groups to the property. It currently has seven top-end hotels, with more on the way. Kerzner International’s One & Only is building a 6-star luxury hotel.
In the Cape Winelands, Dubai World owns Pearl Valley Golf Estates, a 170-hectare championship golf course development, through its Leisurecorp division. The development master-plan includes a 5-star hotel and 60 private apartments.
Dubai World Africa recently acquired a major shareholding in a trio of world-famous South African wildlife reserves - Shamwari Game Reserve, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve and Jock Safari Lodge. These award winning top-end resorts are superbly located on prime land with excellent development opportunities and operate as successful commercial game reserves. Additional luxury lodges are planned for development.
Dubai World Africa’s most recent acquisition is the 30,000 hectare Nkomazi Game Reserve in Mpumalanga, on which the development of luxury lodges, a 5-star hotel, residential and golf course facilities are planned. An increase in the wildlife on the reserve has been planned by the Dubai World Conservation Africa team.
Dubai World Africa will invest in Bilene - Mozambique. Situated to the south of the country, just north of Maputo, the resort spans 1,000ha and encompasses the 18km Sao Martinho Lagoon, nature reserve and turtle breeding area. The development will include the creation of an international standard golf course, a magnificent 5-star hotel as well as 500 golf course and beach villas and condos, extensive watersport facilities and a diving centre. The resort will be served by its own airport, Bilene Praia.
Dubai World Africa is investing in the development of a 5-star international luxury hotel in the Comoros. The Kempinski Comoros Luxury Beach Resort and Residences will rise in what was previously La Galawa Resort. The prestigious hotel group, Kempinski, has been appointed to manage the premier beach resort.
Djibouti is the site of the company’s new 177 room 5-star Djibouti Palace Kempinski Hotel, which includes world class restaurants, nightclub, bars, lounges, a feature swimming pool and the expansion of the beachfront . A further 78 rooms and 54 apartments are currently being added to the Djibouti Palace Kempinski. A beautiful rooftop bar at the six-storey building will offer breathtaking sea views, while a children’s club, full health spa and vitamin bar/ gym are all due for completion by December 2008.
A first of its kind for the country, Djibouti Luxury Villas comprises 50 executive villas featuring only the finest design and finishes, which lie in the upmarket suburb of Haramous, minutes from the Djibouti Palace Kempinski. The 3 and 4-bedroom villas are ideal for the businessman active in this vibrant region, which serves as the Middle East’s gateway into Africa. The villas feature modern kitchens, winding marble staircases and cool granite steps at each entrance, and carry through their breezy theme with spacious dining and lounge areas.
In Zanzibar Dubai World Africa will develop a luxury beach resort. One & Only has been appointed to build a luxury hotel which includes 3km of prime beachfront property.
In Morocco, a coastal 5-star resort - the One and Only Mazagan Resort - is currently being developed. It will include luxury rooms, residential apartments, a magnificent swimming pool/spa/restaurants/conference facilities and retail outlets.
Further unlocking the tourism potential of the African continent, Dubai World Africa has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Senegal to develop a US$ multi-million, world-class, 5-star boutique hotel and beach resort on Gorée Island (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), located 2km from the shoreline of the bustling city of Dakar. The former Ansee Bernard site will also be developed into what will be called the Anse des Sirenes Beach Hotel, a luxury hotel and residential unit development. Senegal’s largest government owned game reserve, Niokolo Koba Park, comprising over 900 000 ha, will be transformed into an eco tourist destination through the construction of eco lodges. An additional asset which Dubai World Conservation Africa will assist in developing is the Djoudj National Park, a north-eastern Senegalese greenery island bordering on the Sahara desert. Djoudj attracts thousands of migratory birds in winter and is the world’s third leading bird reserve. Dubai World Conservation Africa plans to introduce a tourism plan for the national park.
Dubai World Africa is in negotiation with the Tanzanian Government and private entities with regards to investment in the country’s hospitality sector.