Dubai: The Iraqi Ministry of Construction ‘&’ Housing signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dubai-based global property developer Emaar Properties PJSC, to jointly develop residential, commercial and tourism development projects in Iraq.
Announcing the agreement, Eng. Muhammed Al Darraji, Iraqi Minister of Construction ‘&’ Housing, said: “Developing the housing sector and strengthening our infrastructure is one of the priority areas in our National Development Plan. With our economy projected to grow at 12 per cent this year, according to World Bank estimates, Iraq offers a strong investment platform for projects in several key sectors including housing and infrastructure development. Emaar has proven credentials in the development of real estate assets that also energise the economy, and we look forward to developing joint projects in the residential, commercial and tourism sectors.”
Darraji was in the city to participate in Cityscape Global, the premier property exhibition, to highlight the investment potential offered by Iraq and to explore potential partnership opportunities. The projects to be developed by the Ministry and Emaar jointly will be decided in due course based on the National Development Goal of Iraq, which focuses on diversifying the economy and creating new jobs. Currently, Iraq has allocated over US$31 billion to improve the country’s housing infrastructure and address the estimated shortage of over 670,000 new residential units.
Ahmad Al Matrooshi, Managing Director, Emaar Properties, said: “We are thankful to the Government of Iraq and the Ministry of Construction ‘&’ Housing for their trust in our capabilities to undertake large-scale projects that bring tangible value to the overall economy. We will extend our world-class expertise in developing housing and commercial projects to the Ministry to help address the growing demand for housing, office space and retail real estate in the country. These in turn will meet the goals of the Iraqi National Development Plan to create new jobs and strengthen ancillary industries. Iraq is one of the promising emerging markets in the Middle East region, and our partnership with the Ministry of Construction ‘&’ Housing complements our strategic goal to expand to key international markets.”
The Ministry had recently announced a new strategic plan to boost the housing sector by increasing amount allocated for housing, continuing low cost housing projects and preparing a robust investment environment for housing projects, among others. As part of the MoU, the Ministry will provide Emaar with an overview of the property investment laws and regulations, data on exiting and upcoming construction projects, and overall market insights.
The developer of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building in Dubai, Emaar Properties will undertake the construction projects that will be finalised with the Ministry, in addition to sharing its proven competencies in developing hospitality ‘&’ leisure and shopping mall ‘&’ retail assets. Emaar will also draw on its new wholly-owned subsidiary Dawahi Development, which focuses on value housing projects that create jobs and support economic growth, for its partnership with the Iraqi Ministry of Construction ‘&’ Housing.
With Iraq’s capital budget for the year nearly 35 per cent higher than last year, the Government is emphasising on infrastructure projects as part of its strategy to attract foreign investment and promote all-round growth. In addition to earmarking nearly a third of the budget for capital projects, several new legislations are being proposed to drive economic growth.
Emaar has a strong presence in the Middle East and North Africa region where the company is developing several master-planned communities in various stages of completion in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Morocco and Jordan.
At Cityscape, Emaar announced the launch of Emaar Square, a city within a city’ development in Uptown Cairo, its flagship project in Egypt featuring the country’s largest open mall, as well as a second integrated community in Turkey, Boulevardi,’ a new mixed use with luxury homes, a five star hotel, a wide range of leisure facilities, offices, and a world class shopping mall.