Sudan welcomes UAE hotel plan

Sudan welcomed plans by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to build luxury accommodation in Khartoum—and hoped the rooms would be filled with foreigners looking for investment opportunities now that decades of war are finally over.

At the opening on Wednesday of a two-day investment conference, Khartoum Governor Haleem Al Mutaafi, with the Emirates junior finance minister at his side, said the Gulf country was funding the construction of 40 “presidential villas” along the Nile at a cost of $35-million. Initially, the villas will be occupied in January by heads of state at an African summit, the first to be held in Khartoum since 1987.

Mutaafi said five new hotels also were being built, and that he expected the new accommodation to be filled with foreign entrepreneurs. He said a peace deal this January that ended decades of civil war in the south has opened opportunities for investment.

Other UAE projects announced on Wednesday included a dam in northern Sudan to produce 1 250 megawatts of electricity.

The Emirates minister of state for finance, Mohamed bin Kharbash, said his country wanted to invest in the areas that will have “positive effects on human development in the Sudan”.

He said his country would import about 150 tonnes of wheat from Sudan in the coming days.

First Vice President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha, in a speech opening the investment conference, said his government was commited to developing “rural areas ...
and to founding basic infrastructure all over the country with the view to achieving human development”.

Taha said consolidating the peace, particularly its power-sharing provisions, would be a challenge.

“The government is determined to overcome those difficulties and to set a model for the world to follow in the land of Sudan,” Taha said.

Fighting in southern Sudan pitted mainly Christian and animist southerners fighting for autonomy from the Arab Muslim-dominated central government. The war ended after 21 years with January’s power-sharing accord, but Darfur in the west and eastern areas remain restive. - Sapa-AP

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