Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak al-Nahayan, a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family, has revealed investment plans of up to US $45 billion over a period of around 15 years in Pakistan.
News reports suggest that the investment would be made in real estate projects in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city and industrial hub. This would be the biggest ever foreign investment in Pakistan. Under the signed memorandum of understanding, Sheikh Nahayan’s privately-owned construction firm, Dhabi Contracting, has entered into a contract with Pakistani real estate tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain to build residential properties on an island in Karachi.
The investment plans include the construction of a miniature of the world’s seven wonders, tallest building in the world, a sports city, an education and medical city, an international city and a media city. While most of these developments would be residential, there was no confirmation available about the plans to build the world’s tallest tower. However, Nahayan has not provided any details of how the deal would be financed. He said that, “it will be in phases. Every phase will be studied by itself… It depends on the situation when we decide to go ahead with the projects”.
The Abu Dhabi Group, chaired by Sheikh Nahayan, has already made significant investments in Pakistan, including Bank Alfalah , Warid Telecom, Al Razi Healthcare and Wateen Telecom. These investments were driven by Pakistan’s efforts to liberalize the economy and open up service sector, especially banking and telecommunication, for foreign participants.
The deal is being seen as important for Pakistan’s flagging economy. In recent years, the country has been marred by a corrupt government system, and troubled by poor economic and security situation. In particular, Karachi has seen a surge in violent crime, kidnappings and deterioration of infrastructure. With several billions of dollars pumped into the domestic economy, the deal could see a revival of Pakistan’s fortunes.