After Ras al-Hekma UAE deal, Egypt could open Sharm el-Sheikh’s Ras Gamila to Saudi investment

Egypt is reportedly planning to make a renewed push to offer prime Red Sea coastal land in Ras al-Ghamila (also Ras al-Gamila, Ras al-Jamila) in the Straits of Tiran in South Sinai for foreign investment, in the wake of a $35 billion deal with the UAE for the development of Ras al-Hekma on the North Coast.

Egypt is reportedly targeting local and Gulf investors from Saudi Arabia and Qatar for the lucrative acquisition as part of its attempt to inject much needed foreign currency liquidity to address its financial and currency crisis.

The area is close to the islands of Tiran and Sanafir, which were transferred by Egypt to Saudi Arabia in 2022, making the kingdom’s Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) a likely interested party.

The land in Ras Ghamila, meaning “Delightful Cape” in Arabic, is close to a popular diving spot not far from the resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh. It is owned by entities linked to the Egyptian state — EMAC Aqaba, an affiliate of the Ministry of Civil Aviation; and Al Montazah Company for Tourism and Investment, affiliated with the Ministry of Public Enterprise.

Egyptian sources carry conflicting information on its size, with confusion on the unit of measurement used. Some reports put it at 860,000 sqm and others at 860 acres (3,481,579 square meters). It is one of the few remaining state-owned coastal lands in the area, and again Egyptian reports carry conflicting information about its value, from $250 million to $15 billion.

It was previously zoned for a major tourist development that includes a large 4-star hotel with over 800 rooms, more than 1000 hotel apartments, commercial areas, and entertainment facilities.

What has the government said about Ras Ghamila?

Just like with Ras al-Hekma initially, what we are being told officially by the incredibly non-transparent government of Egypt about the purported foreign investment push for Ras Gamila remains murky, but could reveal a direction of travel.

The new reports emerged in the heavily censored Egyptian digital, print and broadcast media, offering conflicting information. Government ministers have confirmed the area is up for local and international investment, but claim this has been the case for some years and deny a Saudi involvement.

Local Al-Dostour newspaper citedthe Minister of Public Enterprise Mahmoud Essmat as denying talks with the Saudi PIF for the development.

But earlier, Egyptian and Saudi media carried multiple reports of ongoing negotiations.

Following the Ras al-Hekma deal, Dr. Samir Sabry, chairman of the Local and Foreign Investment Committee of the government’s National Dialogue initiative, on Saturday said “an even more ambitious project is in the works”, with a “massive project” on the Red Sea, rivalling the scope of Ras El Hekma, being imminent.

Egypt and the United Arab Emirates had signed a landmark investment partnership to develop Ras al-Hekma on the Mediterranean Sea for US$35 billion of foreign direct investments, a project heralded by Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly as “one of the biggest deals of its kind.”

The UAE’s sovereign wealth fund, ADQ, will lead an investment consortium with $24 billion earmarked for Ras al-Hekma, located west of Alexandria. This will transform the Mediterranean coastal region into a resort city with a UAE-managed airport. The remaining $11 billion will go towards development projects across Egypt.

The partnership involves a staggered rollout: $15 billion immediately, followed by another $20 billion within two months

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