Dubai World looks to expand into Africa

Dubai World has announced that it is investing in a game park in Zimbabwe as part of its on-going expansion plans into Africa, despite confirming the postponement of future construction developments in the Gulf.

The government-owned entity sees Africa as a prime place for future investment, and already holds major stakes in three game reserves in South Africa, according to a report in UAE daily The National.

Zimbabwe has become more attractive to international investors since February’s power-sharing arrangement was set up between the president Robert Mugabe and the former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

“The game parks are basically nature reserves. Part of it is the social responsibility that we feel towards being in a country, but also part of it is investment,” said Dubai World chairman Sultan bin Sulayem at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai yesterday.

“Africa is a very interesting place. It is a place where you can see growth. In Africa, you will see double-digit growth. Africa is virgin, Africa has so much charm, nature. This is something that we know we can add value to,” he added.
Sulayem said Africa’s “scenery would fit” Nakheel Hotel’s One&Only brand, which had opened its first resort in Cape Town last month.

At the same conference Sualyem confirmed Dubai World’s announcement in January that it would be delaying all new developments, including the world’s tallest tower, concentrating instead on completing already started projects.

“Anything committed to we shall finish it, everything that cannot currently be financed will be delayed,” he said.

“The tower will be delayed until the market changes. You can’t build something like that in this kind of market,” Sulayem concluded.

Other Dubai World projects in Africa include a string of first five-star hotels in Djibouti, which started with the Djibouti Palace Kempinski in 2006 that has seen good returns since opening.

Last year, Dubai World bought a 50% interest in the Kruger National Park concession owned by Singita Game Reserves.

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