The UAE will invest Dh600 billion ($163 billion) until 2050 to meet the growing energy demand and ensure the sustainable growth of the economy, said the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) in a new report.
The UAE has taken early steps to bid farewell to the last barrel of oil, and achieve a balance between development and maintaining a clean, healthy, and safe environment. The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 aims to achieve an energy mix that combines renewable and clean energy sources to balance economic requirements and environmental goals.
The Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050
Dubai has become an international pioneer in developing the clean and renewable energy sector. It has developed a number of techniques and practices to enhance the efficiency of the energy sector while rationalising consumption and finding alternative solutions to conventional energy. This supports the sustainable development of the Emirate.
The Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which was launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, aims to provide seven per cent of Dubai’s total power output from clean energy by 2020. This target will increase to 25 per cent by 2030 and 75 per cent by 2050. Dubai is the only city in the region to have launched such a promising strategy, with set goals and timelines that map the future of energy until 2050. The strategy consists of five main pillars: infrastructure, legislation, funding, building capacities and skills, and having an environment-friendly energy mix. The infrastructure pillar includes initiatives such as the Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is the largest single-site solar energy project in the world, with a planned total production capacity of 5,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030, and a total investment of Dh50 billion.
Dubai to be the city with the lowest carbon footprint in the world by 2050
“We are working to achieve the ambitious vision of our wise leadership within the framework of federal and local strategies, including the UAE Vision 2021, the UAE Centennial 2071, and Dubai Plan 2021. Our strategies and business plans are inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Rule of Dubai, for the Emirate to be the city with the lowest carbon footprint in the world by 2050,”said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer MD & CEO of Dewa.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is one of the key projects to achieve this vision. Since its launch, the solar park’s projects see considerable interest from international developers, reflecting the confidence of international investors in the projects that are supported by Dubai Government,” he added. “We are proud that the solar park, which bears the name of an exceptional personality who is leading the sustainable development of Dubai, was recognised as one of the UAE Pioneers, an achievement that the late Sheikh Zayed bin Zayed Al Nahyan would have been proud of. “Naming the solar park as one of the UAE pioneers drives us to continue our efforts to achieve the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, which guides us in all our projects and initiatives and achieve the objectives of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to produce 75 per cent of Dubai’s total power output from clean energy by 2050,” Al Tayer concluded.
The number of millionaires in the UAE increased
last year and this trend will continue over the next five years as growing
investment opportunities will generate more millionaires locally as well as
political and economic stability will also woo rich individuals and families
from foreign countries, say researchers and analysts.
According to the latest report released by global
consultancy Knight Frank, the number of millionaires, or high net worth
individuals, in the UAE expanded 3 per cent to 53,798 last year from 52,344 in
the previous year. The numbers are projected to grow 14 per cent to 61,292 by
2023. Similarly, the number of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) – who
own more than $30-million wealth – in the UAE grew from 672 in 2017 to 693 last
year and will reach 799 by 2023.
The study predicted that the number of UHNWIs in
Dubai and Abu Dhabi will increase from 440 last year to 511 in 2023 and from
192 to 223, respectively.
Issam Kassabieh, senior financial analyst at
Menacorp, believes that the ultra-rich will continue to flock to the UAE in
“At the moment, Dubai is attractive for
foreigners. Now, it is a place not just for good investments returns but also
to stay for long term. Government is focusing on key sector so that the cash
comes in and stays in the country through different measures such as longer
visas and ease of doing business initiatives,” Kassabieh said.
“The UAE is an attractive place for foreign
investors – financial markets are at an early stage and have a long way to go.
Real estate was the first to anchor the economy and that brought foreign
investors here. Going forward, the focus will be on more diverse sectors. Also,
the ease of doing business chart shows the UAE is first in the region and also
competitive globally,” he added.
“Dubai offers a full package – good quality of
life, healthcare, education and investment opportunities. All these complement
each other and attracts high net worth individuals to this country. In addition
to that, diversity of population plays a big role in this,” said
Knight Frank data revealed that Dubai and Abu Dhabi
will witness higher growth in UNHWIs as compared to Manama and Riyadh.
Raju Menon, chairman and managing partner, Kreston
Menon, said the number of millionaires will undoubtedly continue growing in the
UAE in coming years.
“Whatever the business challenges or revenue
decline the companies are facing today, it is temporary. We need to look at
long-term of 5 to 10 years. Millionaires should grow here in the UAE because
money is available here so the investment avenues will be opened. The UAE’s
economy offer big opportunities,” he said.
Menon believes that most of the new millionaires
will be homegrown mainly in retail, trading, healthcare, real estate, services
and shipping sectors.
Iyad Abu Hweij, Managing Director of Allied
Investment Partners, said the UAE, home to over 9.4 million residents, remains
an attractive destination for HNWIs in the region.
With investor and business friendly policies, world
class infrastructure and a stable outlook, HNWIs are expected to continue to
grow in numbers in the country over the next coming years. Such policies and
initiatives have played an important role in bolstering the confidence of
investors and attracting Foreign Direct Investments in the UAE, which in turn
creates jobs for a highly talented workforce,” Abu Hweij said
Additionally, the UAE, viewed as a regional startup
hub and a digital leader, continues to boast more startups than any other
country in the region. Naturally, such startups attract more venture capital
and private equity investments locally than anywhere else regionally, he added.
“The UAE continues to provide solid investment
opportunities for investors locally and globally, which, along with a rapidly
developing financial services sector, has played a catalyst like role for the
growth of HNWIs in the country.”
The number of millionaires in the Middle East with
wealth below $30 million grew three per cent from 446,384 in 2017 to 459,937
last year. The number is projected to grow 18 per cent to 541,311 by 2023.
Similarly, the ultra-high net worth individuals with more than $30m assets grew
four per cent year-on-year to 8,301 last year. It’s estimated that the number
will grow 20 per cent over the next five years to 9,997.
According to Knight Frank forecast, the number of
billionaires in the region will grow from 89 last year to 99 by 2023.
Globally, the number of millionaires with less than
$30 million assets are projected to expand from 19.6 million in 2018 to 23.4
million by 2023, an increase of 19 per cent. While ultra rich will increase 22
per cent during 2018 to 2023 from 198,342 to 241,053.
An energy source that can power everything from
mass transport by land, sea and air to heavy industry, that does no harm to the
environment and is practically limitless sounds like an ecologist’s Utopian
But it’s no dream – and the revolution is already
underway. Its name? Hydrogen – the most abundant element in the universe.
Industrialists the world over say the gas can
become a crucial part of the global energy mix – and faster than many people
might imagine. “I think the real test is when will the man in the street
starts to recognise that hydrogen is part of the energy mix,” Ronnie
Chalmers, vice president of the French industrial gases’ supplier Air Liquide’s
Africa, Middle East and India hub, tells The National. “I think
that will come before 2030, at different places and different times around the
The Hydrogen Council says that by 2030 the gas will
be a significant energy player with millions of hydrogen-powered vehicles on
the road. Launched at the World Economic Forum 2017, in Davos, Hydrogen Council
founders include Air Liquide, Toyota, BMW, Alstom and Airbus, among other big
The council believes the hydrogen sector will carry
similar financial weight to the hydrocarbons industry with revenues worth some
$2.5 trillion annually by 2050 and jobs for more than 30 million people
globally. By comparison, the oil and gas market had total revenues of $1.97tn
worldwide in 2017, according to BusinessWire’s Global Oil & Gas Industry
The council’s view may be a little optimistic,
Robin Mills, the chief executive of the consultancy Qamar Energy, and author of
The Myth of the Oil Crisis, tells The National. “Oil today
is a $2.2tn business, gas say $0.5tn, coal $0.8tn,” he says. “So
$2.5tn for hydrogen looks like a stretch. But it could certainly be a very
The mass implementation of hydrogen as a transport power
source is already taking place. Hydrogen fuel cells power electric forklift
trucks around the world and helps businesses such as Amazon, Ikea and others
increase their production hours and reduce operating costs. The fuel cells do
not need recharging like traditional battery-powered forklifts – hydrogen
powered forklifts can be fully fuelled in under five minutes.
Hydrogen has been used in industry for decades such
as in refining, treating metals and food processing but it is the acceleration
of renewable energy that has spurred the multinationals’ interest – and Air
Liquide sees the UAE as an ideal destination to further the hydrogen cause.
As a pioneer in renewable energy, particularly
solar, the Emirates is committed to developing its green energy economy and, in
part, this is why Air Liquide recently undertook a study in collaboration with
Al Futtaim Toyota – which distributes Toyota’s hydrogen-powered Mirai vehicle
in the UAE – and Khalifa University to look at strategies to grow the hydrogen
This month, the first solar-driven hydrogen
electrolysis facility in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region was
inaugurated in Dubai.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the
Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher
Committee, broke ground on the project, a collaboration between Dubai
Electricity and Water Authority, Expo 2020 Dubai and Siemens. It will be built
at Dewa’s outdoor testing facilities in the Research and Development Centre at
the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, state media agency WAM
Mr Chalmers adds that the UAE has all the right
ambitions regarding decarbonisation in the economy and “it was easy for us
to say to Al Futtaim, ‘You have the same problem as us, you have the product,
you need somebody to build fuel stations, we need somebody to market the
Speaking at a press event in December to showcase
hydrogen mass transport potential, Saud Abbasi, managing director of Al Futtaim
Toyota, said: “In our next chapter, and in line with the UAE Vision 2021,
we believe that Mirai [hydrogen fuel cell-electric vehicle] and any other FCEV
in the future, once adopted on a large national scale, can actively help the
UAE in its march towards serious climate action thanks to the many practical
benefits it presents such as zero pollutants, zero behavioural change, long
mileage and minimal hydrogen filling time of three to five minutes.”
So far, Al Futtaim in partnership with Air Liquide
has opened a hydrogen station, the first in the Middle East, at Al Badia, Dubai
Festival City. A second station is set to start construction this year in
Masdar City, in collaboration with Adnoc, Masdar and Al Futtaim.
Air Liquide is also pushing the use of renewables
as a source of hydrogen.
“The ultimate goal is to have 100 per cent
green hydrogen – the definition of green hydrogen is that it comes from green
energy. This could be solar, wind, biogas,” says Olivier Boucat, head of
Air Liquide’s H2 Mobility unit.
The company admits it is not at that stage yet.
Today, Air Liquide uses a mix of green and “brown” hydrogen – where
methane sourced from coal or natural gas is processed to release hydrogen –
producing a lot of CO2 as a byproduct.
But it aims to rapidly ramp up its share of green
hydrogen produced by using water electrolysis and renewable sources of
electricity, such as solar in the UAE, which does not emit CO2. In January, Air
Liquide announced it had acquired an 18.6 per cent stake in Canadian company
Hydrogenics Corporation for $20 million, which makes electrolysis hydrogen
production equipment and fuel cells.
Electrolysis works by passing electricity through
water which splits it into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is collected,
transported and stored either in gas form or as a liquid super-chilled to minus
253°C – which, incidentally, is the form in which it is used to power space
rockets. The oxygen can be used in other industrial processes.
To power a car, for example, the hydrogen runs from
the fuel tank into a fuel cell, where it re-combines with oxygen from the air,
producing energy as electricity, rather than explosive energy as in an internal
combustion engine. The resulting electricity is released in a controlled manner
to power the engine, the same kind of engine an electric battery car uses.
But there is another significant difference between
an electric battery vehicle and an FCEV.
“The heavier the car is the more energy it
consumes,” says Pascal Schvester, Air Liquide’s director of the Middle
East and India Industrial Merchant unit. A high-end electric vehicle (EV) today
needs about 700kg of battery, which is maybe a third of the weight of the
vehicle, he says. “That is something you do not have with a hydrogen fuel
cell car – in which you have, say, 6kg of hydrogen.”
Currently, however, green hydrogen is prohibitively
expensive to produce. But as countries move away from hydrocarbons as a fuel,
economies of scale will bring the price down. “At the moment it’s better
to have a large facility and then transport the hydrogen as a gas but when the
volumes get big enough it will be better to transport as a liquid,” says
“This is happening already in California; we
are just commissioning the first liquid hydrogen plant to provide liquid
hydrogen to a station.”
With construction to start later this year, at a
cost to build of around $150m, the plant will have the capacity to generate
nearly 30 tonnes of hydrogen per day – enough to fuel 35,000 hydrogen-powered
vehicles. The facility is designed to accelerate the deployment of new hydrogen
FCEVs – cars and fleet vehicles such as taxis, trucks and buses and trams, as is
happening in Europe.
However, hydrogen’s cost as a fuel is unlikely to
reach commercial parity with petrol, diesel or electric battery power, although
price is not likely to be the determining factor for its uptake, according to
Mr Mills. “I think hydrogen will always be more expensive than petrol or
diesel, but the reasons for its adoption would be that it’s zero-carbon, clean
at the point of use, and (potentially) indefinitely renewable. The question is
whether it can compete cost-wise with electric vehicles which are improving
“Hydrogen’s at quite an immature stage, so
this really depends on how much support it gets to build scale and bring down
Mr Mills says that the large-scale vehicle sector
is most suited to hydrogen as a transport fuel. “Probably it will have to
find its role in long-distance, heavy-duty transport like trucks, rail,
shipping and perhaps aviation,” he says.
However, the more down-to-earth fleet vehicle
sector is Air Liquide’s main focus in the UAE. “We’re not targeting the
super cars like Jeremy Clarkson might drive on Top Gear,”says
Mr Boucat, but he says “the aeroplane would be the last goal for us”.
Air Liquide’s Mr Schvester also points out that
regarding fleets “you don’t need to have a massive network of hydrogen
filling stations because in this case you are dealing with vehicles that are
commuting from one place to the other on a fixed basis” so fuelling
stations can be centralised.
Globally, Japan is generally seen as the leader so
far in hydrogen take-up. The country’s Basic Hydrogen Strategy, released in
December, 2017, reiterated its commitment to pioneer the world’s first
“Hydrogen Society”. The strategy primarily aims to achieve cost parity of
hydrogen with competing fuels, such as petrol in transport and Liquified
Natural Gas (LNG) in power generation.
“By 2030 Japan will start to import hydrogen
in liquid form to produce energy for various applications in the country,”
says Mr Boucat. “When we reach that point we are at a very large
Last month, South Korea announced a major
investment plan to go the same way. By 2040, the country aims to increase the
cumulative total of fuel cell vehicles to 6.2 million, raise the number of
hydrogen refuelling stations to 1,200 (from just 14 today) and also boost the
supply of power-generating fuel cells.
Through these measures, the government hopes to
create 420,000 jobs and $38.35 billion in value added to the economy each year
China now invests about 100bn yuan a year
(Dh54.09bn) in hydrogen energy, according to Professor Zong Qiang Mao of Tsinghua
University’s Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology, who adds that the
country has the capacity to produce about 170,000 FCEVs per year. It’s likely
to become a huge market. “I predict that in about 10 years we will also be
the largest market in the world for hydrogen energy,” Mr Zong told
cH2ange, an organisation dedicated to promoting the hydrogen economy and which
is supported by Air Liquide.
Germany in September opened its 50th hydrogen
filling station. With the ramp-up of the number of fuel cell vehicles, another
300 hydrogen refuelling stations are planned over the next two or three years.
In Paris, the Societe du Taxi Electrique Parisien
has a total of 100 hydrogen-powered vehicles in its fleet, and is aiming to
have 600 such vehicles by 2020. In the UK, meanwhile, the government announced
last year police cars and taxis will be among nearly 200 new hydrogen powered
vehicles as part of a project that has won £8.8m (Dh42.4m) in funding from the
Department for Transport to increase the number of hydrogen cars on the roads.
Air Liquide believes such developments are just the
“I think within a few years we’ll see more [hydrogen-powered] trains, taxis, buses and trucks and the man in the street will think, ‘ah yes, it’s just another hydrogen vehicle,'” says Mr Chalmers.
“We got used to LNG trucks, we’re getting used
to EVs and next will be hydrogen.”
The UAE has been ranked as the top country in the
Middle East and North Africa for wage equality, according to a new report
released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
However, the UAE’s performance on the WEF’s Global
Gender Gap Report 2018’s wage equality indicator saw a slight decrease
compared to last year, a statement said.
The Emirates also topped the region in terms of the
number of women in ministerial positions, with improvements recorded in gender
parity in the legislators, senior officials and managers and healthy life
Overall, the report found that despite the gender
gap across the MENA region closing narrowly in 2018, it remains the world’s
least gender-equal region.
It will take the Middle East and North Africa
economies “153 years to close the gender gap at the current rate of change”, the report stated.
While Tunisia topped the region for gender equality
– ranking 119 globally, the UAE ranked 121 with the gender gap closed at 64.2
per cent. Saudi Arabia, ranked 141 with a 59 per cent gender gap rate, showed
“modest progress”, with improvement in wage equality and women’s labour force
participation, the report stated.
Globally, the report found that the global gender
gap only slightly reduced in 2018, as stagnation in the proportion of women in
the workplace and women’s declining representation in politics, along with
greater inequality in access to health and education, offset improvements in
wage equality and the number of women in professional positions.
According to the report, the world has closed 68
per cent of its gender gap, as measured across four key pillars: economic
opportunity; political empowerment; educational attainment; and health and survival.
Last year was the first since the report began
publishing in 2006 that the gap between men and women widened.
At the current rate of change, the report indicated
that it will take 108 years to close the overall gender gap and 202 years to
bring about parity in the workplace.
Globally, having closed more than 85.8 per cent of
its overall gender gap, Iceland topped the list for the 10th
consecutive year. It was followed by Norway, Sweden, Finland and Nicaragua.
“The economies that will succeed in the Fourth
Industrial Revolution will be those that are best able to harness all their
available talent,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the
“Proactive measures that support gender parity and
social inclusion and address historical imbalances are therefore essential for
the health of the global economy as well as for the good of society as a
The report also found that while the income gap
between men and women has become narrower, fewer women are participating in the
“This a worrisome development for which there are a
number of potential reasons,” the report said.
“One is that automation is having a
disproportionate impact on roles traditionally performed by women. At the same
time, women are under-represented in growing areas of employment that require
STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills and knowledge.
Another potential reason is that the infrastructure needed to help women enter
or re-enter the workforce – such as childcare and eldercare – is
under-developed and unpaid work remains primarily the responsibility of women,”
the report explained.
“The corollary is that the substantial investments
made by many economies to close the education gap are failing to generate
optimal returns in the form of growth.”
According to Saadia Zahidi, head of the Centre for
the New Economy and Society and member of the WEF managing board, industries
must “proactively hardwire gender parity in the future of work through
effective training, reskilling and upskilling interventions and tangible job
“It’s in their long-term interest because diverse
businesses perform better,” she added.
The UAE, after first announcing its intent back in July, has unveiled a $1.5 billion wholesale Dubai Food Park (DFP) to be spread over an area of about 4.5 million m². And it will be the first destination totally dedicated to serving the food sector in the Middle East. The DFP will feature a central wholesale market and will also provide food safety and inspection together with various other related governmental services. It is mainly aimed at meeting the demand of the food sector of not only the UAE but of all the Gulf region.
Dubai where up to 80% discounts at its usual summer Big Clearance Sale could be grabbed as per Khaleej Times in not only its streets shops and numerous malls but in Three expansive halls of its World Trade Centre.
We republish this article published on July 12, 2017 by Al Bawaba for a further spread of Dubai’s entrepreneurial dynamism and enthusiasm. Trade and retail have always been the engine of the UAE’s since its inception but still is tied to its hydrocarbons products exports related revenues. The volatility elements of these are perhaps the underlying factors that are the root cause of not only the future introduction of taxation but also of whipping this retail and wholesale alike in the country.
The Dubai Food Park will occupy around 48 million square feet and play a vital role in supporting food security in the UAE. (WAM)
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has launched the Dh5.5 billion ($1.5 billion) Dubai Food Park to be developed at Dubai Wholesale City.
Sheikh Mohammed attended a briefing by Abdulla Al Habbai, chairman of Dubai Holding, and senior officials from Dubai Holding. The briefing highlighted key features of the park that is positioned as an attractive environment for business operators and investors in the food sector to facilitate access to new markets and global investments.
A first-of-its-kind in the region, the Dubai Food Park will occupy around 48 million square feet and play a vital role in supporting food security in the UAE. It will benefit from Dubai’s world-class infrastructure in land, marine and air transport and establish the emirate’s position as a leading regional hub for food trade and re-export of foodstuffs.
The park will offer all categories of food-related services, including modern infrastructure and ancillary services. Food trade makes up 11 percent of the UAE’s gross domestic product, with estimates for the food industry to grow by 70 percent to Dh23 billion by 2030.
The park will provide a range of government services, including customs, clearance, licensing, food safety and supervision all under one roof. Providing a full suite of services will help boost the growth of food companies and reduce supply chain costs.
Al Habbai said the development projects by Dubai Holding support Dubai’s economic diversification. “The Dubai Food Park has been established to meet the growing demand of the food sector in the UAE and the region, triggered by population growth and development of the tourism sector,” he said.
“There is an increased need for specialised logistical services that ease supply chain costs, as well as for more dedicated spaces to accommodate the fast-growing operations of food companies in Dubai,” he added.
The Dubai Food Park includes a central wholesale market that serves the retail, hospitality and food service sectors, a logistics area, an area for complementary services such as packing, repacking and processing, and a dedicated area for handling packaged goods. It will also host employees’ accommodation, in addition to hotels, financial services, a centre for integrated government services and recycling organic waste.
Dr. Amina Al Rustamani, group CEO of Tecom Group, said the Dubai Food Park is set to bolster Dubai’s status as a regional hub in the food sector.
“These services will reduce paperwork and allow companies to focus on providing quality products at par with global standards, benefiting from 11 million sqft as a free zone for re-export activities. The park will also play a pivotal role in enhancing food security and revitalising the growth of the food sector in the region and the world.”
Abdulla Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Wholesale City, said the park is designed to meet the highest global standards to ensure efficiency of operations and ease of procedures. He said the park will be a model one-stop destination for governmental, administrative and logistical services related to the food sector.
“Through the development of the Dubai Food Park, we seek to provide an advanced infrastructure that meets the current and future needs of this sector.”
Dubai Holding said it is currently in final stages of negotiations with leading international food companies headquartered in Dubai that are seeking further growth and expansion. The aim of these negotiations is to facilitate these companies’ plans to join the Dubai Food Park.
Currently, food trade makes up 11% of the UAE’s GDP and the food industry is estimated to grow by 70% to $6.3-B by Y 2030. The sector supports 18,400 blue-collar and 4,600 white collar workers and 2,500 businesses, according to government figures.
It is also hoped to support global food security and foster innovation across the sector.
“DFP has been established to meet the increased need for specialized logistical services to reduce supply chain costs,” said Mr. Belhoul.
“The park will be a one-stop destination for government, administrative and logistical services related to food wholesale, import, export and re-export.”
The wider Dubai Wholesale City is the largest wholesale hub in the world, occupying 550-M sqf that will take shape over a 10-year frame at an estimated cost of $8.2-B.
Trending ambitious projects in the Gulf countries Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE, Doha in Lusail, Qatar, Manama in Bahrain have always been competing one another for commercial limelight. These days despite all oil related exports revenues these have not been witnessed to slumber somehow so they seem to be projected out by the local media. The first thing that one would notice is not only the size of investments but the unconventional nature of the extraordinary schemes that are shaping up certain areas of each of the above. Doha, for instance launched its $ billion Lusail urban development in early 2000 as a government inspired private public partnership operation that is eventually to foreign and non-resident ownership. The construction industry in the Gulf countries has always been served and serving the national private citizen and organisations alike. Dubai being the precursor in starting to allow some freehold to go to foreign and resident investors stayed at the forefront until joined by almost all of the others member countries of the GCC.
Deira Island project in Dubai
Doha News published this ‘pictures and text’ report of the work still in progress that is republished here with our thanks to Shabina Khatri, Executive editor and co-founder of @dohanews with some sort of unavowed intent to help spread wide and far the word of the country whilst undergoing a blockade from its neighbours is nevertheless in need of builders.
Construction on the swooping structure of a twin-towers project in Lusail Marina is expected to start soon, with the launch this week of tenders for a main contractor. Katara Hospitality opened the application process for a contractor to build the 36-story, crossed-swords design Katara Towers. The towers’ curves are inspired by the crossed swords of the seal of Qatar, and were designed by German civil engineering and design firm King Consult.. When complete, the complex will house two hotels, luxury apartments, restaurants and entertainment and recreation facilities, according to the notice on its website and in local media this week.
Katara Hospitality first launched the towers project in May 2012, and at that time aimed to finish by 2016. At the time, the total budget for the project, covering a 300,000 sq m area, was QR2.2 billion. Since then, progress on the project has been stop-start, and subsequent deadlines have come and gone.
Enabling and piling works got underway in late 2013, and in December 2014, Katara Hospitality tendered for subcontracting and basement works packages. According to its website, the towers are now scheduled to open in 2020.
The state-funded hospitality group said it is currently looking for a Qatar-based contractor, or a joint venture with local official representation. They will be tasked with building the above-ground structure and facade and to handle the MEP works.
The successful bidder will also be appointed as main contractor for the rest of the works to the project until it is finished, the notice states. Eligible bidders should have done at least three similar projects in the last six years, each valued at QR2 billion or higher.
They must also show experience in constructing projects of a “similar size, character and complexity” in the Gulf or MENA region in the last five years, the notice said. The deadline to apply is Oct. 15.
What to expect
Once completed, the towers will be among Lusail City’s landmark buildings. It is located in the marina district, which is still under construction. It is already home to the multi-colored Marina Twin Towers, among other buildings.
According to the latest tender notice, Katara Towers will house two hotels — a “luxurious premium” hotel for business travelers, and a “five-star deluxe hotel.”
There will also be permanent apartments as well as “a variety of suites, restaurants and state-of-art entertainment and recreation facilities.”
Previously, an artificial beach island was planned, to be linked to the towers’ promenade by bridges. It was slated to host aquatic sports, restaurants and contain water parks, Katara Hospitality previously said. However, there was no mention of the beach island in the latest notice.
Some 20km to the north of Doha, Lusail is being built from what was empty desert. The aim is to eventually house nearly 200,000 people by 2022, and half-a-million residents when it is fully complete.
Lusail City rendering. Credit: SCDL
At that time, visitors to the “city of the future” will be able to get around via light rail, water taxi or through a cycle and pedestrian network. Construction on the marina district has been underway for years, and a number of towers and other projects are already complete, although progress in some parts has been slow. Lusail will also be home to Qatar’s showpiece stadium when it hosts the World Cup in 2022.
A Qatari-Chinese JV was announced late last year as the main stadium contractor. But the design for the arena — being undertaken by British architectural firm Fosters + Partners — has yet to be publicly revealed.
Among the stops on the light-rail is Place Vendôme. The QR4.6 billion mixed-use, Parisian-inspired development will have a shopping center with up to 500 retail outlets in a 1 million square meter area.
Place Vendôme — Lusail. Credit: United Developers
Scheduled to be finished next year, it will include a a hypermarket, entertainment zones, restaurants and two five-star luxury hotels and serviced apartments.