Damascus, Asharq Al-Awsat- Global real estate major Emaar Properties yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Syrian General Organization for Housing to float a new company that will initiate several socio-economic developmental projects in Syria.
The initiative was formalised on the sidelines of the Syrian-Emarati Economic Forum currently being held in Damascus. At a ceremony attended by the Syrian Prime Minister Mr Muhammad Naji Al-Otri and Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Abdullah Dardari, Emaar Chairman Mohamed Ali Alabbar and Syrian General Organization for Housing Chairman and Director General Engineer Omar Ghalaounji signed the MoU, which will be finalised in six months.
The incorporation rules for the new company and equity participation of Emaar and the Syrian General Organization for Housing will be decided soon. Representation to the board of directors will be commensurate with the equity held.
Initially, the new company will roll out, in phases, affordable housing units at different locations across the country, targeting the middle-income segment. Several other socio-economic development projects, which will uplift the standard of living of the Syrian population, are being planned.
The location of the new housing units will be finalized after the master plan and reclamation proposals are approved by the Syrian government. Other development projects will be initiated after elaborate social surveys and infrastructure assessment.
“Emaar’s new initiative in Syria is important from a socio-economic perspective,” said Mr. Mohamed Ali Alabbar. “While we have already announced multi-million dollar real estate developments in Syria, this MoU offers Emaar the opportunity to serve a larger cross-section of the community by delivering affordable housing solutions and other infrastructure support.”
He said that Syria is an emerging market with a huge potential for growth. “By joining hands with the Syrian General Organization for Housing, we are proud to contribute our bit to enhance the standard of living of the majority Syrian population.”
Engineer Omar Ghalaounji said that Emaar’s initiative serves as a model for inter-regional co-operation that goes beyond mere corporate interests. “This is a landmark agreement and a first of its kind for Syrian General Organization for Housing. We are proud to associate with Emaar on a project that will help enhance the well-being of our citizens.”
The MoU is a serious indication of the strong partnership forged between Syria and the United Arab Emirates, a fact underscored by the second Syrian-Emarati Economic Forum, Ghalaounji added.
Syria is a middle-income developing country currently embarking on an incremental economic reform. Property laws have been revisited and new development strategies are being formulated across the board. The Syrian Prime Minister Mr Muhammad Naji Al-Otri had recently asserted that the government is paying closer attention to developing the local housing sector. He had instructed the Syrian General Organization for Housing to allocate necessary funds to build 60,000 new apartments.
Emaar Properties, one of the world’s largest real estate developers, has pledged to become one of the world’s most valuable companies by year 2010. Currently on a regional expansion curve, Emaar has already expanded into Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, India and Pakistan.