UAE's Bukhatir group revives $5 bln real estate project in Tunisia

Thursday, March 10 2022


TUNIS — UAE-based Bukhatir Group said on Thursday it was reviving a $5 billion real estate project in Tunis and would start work immediately on an initial phase, the first big project in the North African country since a 2011 revolution.

Tunisia has been seeking foreign investment to boost its economy which has been hit hard by the pandemic after years of stagnation, compounded by political turmoil.

Tunisian sources told Reuters last Friday that Bukhatir would re-commit to the project, which was halted after the revolution that ended the rule of former president Zine El Abdine Ben Ali.

Bukhatir Chairman Salah Bukhatir confirmed at a press conference the project was being revived, and that the first phase would involve building luxury villas and a golf course.

“This project will change the face of the capital Tunis,” he said.

The project includes sports academies, hotels, golf courses and villas covering 250 hectares in the north of Tunis. It is expected to provide thousands of jobs in a country where unemployment is more than 18%.

President Kais Saied in July suspended parliament and seized control of executive powers in a move described by opponents as a coup.

Major Western lenders have said he needs to restore normal constitutional order.

Some Gulf states saw Saied’s intervention as undermining the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which they regard as their main regional foe, and which is close to the biggest party in Tunisia’s now frozen parliament.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have pledged to help Tunisia as it battles its worst financial crisis. (Reporting by Tarek Amara Editing by Hugh Lawson and Mark Potter)