DAMAC Properties Strengthens its Presence in Iraq
MoU signed with Iraqi government to further develop projects in Baghdad
DAMAC Properties has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Iraqi Minister for Construction and Housing on the final day of Cityscape Global 2012.
The region's largest private luxury developer already has two plots of land in Baghdad that was previously bought from the private sector and is currently developing designs with the projects to be announced shortly.
The agreement will see DAMAC Properties provide expertise and insight for a number of residential and commercial projects in Baghdad and the surrounding region. The MoU is the result of many months of negotiations, culminating in high-level talks, which were concluded during the exhibition.
DAMAC Properties has also opened a branch office in Baghdad further enforcing its commitment to developing in the country.
Mohammad Al Darraji, Iraqi Minister of Construction and Housing, met with DAMAC Properties Chairman Hussain Sajwani at the DAMAC Properties stand at Cityscape Global and signed an agreement which will allow DAMAC Properties to further expand its operations in Iraq.
Speaking earlier to delegates at the Cityscape conference, Mr. Al Darraji said: "Iraq has seen significant changes to regulations and the governing of economic activities. The new laws promote fresh investment and this transition will promote the rapid restructuring of our economy."
Mr. Sajwani added: "DAMAC Properties is delighted to be invited to work with the Iraqi government on these forthcoming projects. This is a significant agreement which will allow us to take the DAMAC Properties commitment of luxury and quality to a new territory."
DAMAC Properties currently has 65 buildings currently at various stages of construction in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Egypt, Lebanon, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The company has already completed 37 buildings throughout the Middle East and North Africa, with the latest project, Marina Bay in Abu Dhabi receiving its handover certificate only last month.
"DAMAC Properties is continually looking for the right opportunities to bring the luxury living brand to other parts of the world," said Mr. Sajwani. "We are doing due diligence on a number of projects in different countries and if we believe the circumstances are right and our brand can add value to a particular country, we will seriously consider it, as we aim to become one of the leading luxury developers not just in the Middle East but the world."
The Iraqi government has been showcasing various projects during Cityscape Global 2012 and discussing a number of private-public partnerships with potential investors. During a speech to the conference Al Darraji said that US$ 10.4 billion worth of construction and infrastructure projects are expected to be approved next year and that the ministry has 65 projects worth US$ 3 billion with 60,000 units already under construction.
Iraq's annual construction output is the highest in the region he added, with an annual growth rate of 15 percent.
DAMAC Properties has been showcasing its hotel serviced apartments offering during this year's show with the DAMAC Suites & Spa brand. The company is taking a leadership role in the sector and announced it would have 4,000 serviced apartments under development or its management by the end of next year. The first project to come online will be in the Burj Area by the middle of 2013.