(Adds Egyptian economy )
CAIRO, March 9 Arabtec Holding,
Dubai's largest listed construction firm, has agreed with the
Egyptian army to build one million houses in a project worth 280
billion Egyptian pounds ($40.23 billion), it said in a statement
The project, one of the biggest in the region, is seen as a
boost to the country of 85 million which has been struggling to
attract tourists and foreign investors, amid political turmoil,
and saw its foreign reserves drop to a critical low last year.
It will cover 160 million square meters across 13 sites in
Egypt for lower income individuals. The company said it expected
that work on the project would start in the third quarter of
this year and be completed before 2020.
The firm did not say how the project will be financed but
Hasan Ismaik, Arabtec's chief executive told Reuters on the
sidelines of a press conference in Cairo said that the land will
be given for free.
Ismaik added that there will be an agreement with around 40
banks in Egypt to provide financial facilities for limited
Egypt's economy has been struggling since a mass uprising
toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 when millions of
Egyptians took to the streets calling for social justice and
better distribution of wealth as well as an end to corruption.
One year later, the same demands emerged bringing an end to
Islamist President Mohamed Mursi who was toppled after only one
year in office when the army, prompted by mass protests, ousted
him on July 3.
The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have
pledged more than $12 billion to help boost Egypt's economy.
($1 = 6.9603 Egyptian Pounds)
(Reporting by Asma Alsharif, additional reporting by Ehab
Farouk, editing by Louise Heavens)