Egypt says no deal with Saudi Arabia on Ras Gamila resort yet

Egypt says no deal with Saudi Arabia on Ras Gamila resort yet
Ras Gamila is located near the islands of Tiran and Sanafir and is one of Egypt's most important tourism development projects
2 min read
Egypt - Cairo
21 April, 2024
Ras Gamila is close to a popular diving spot not far from the resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh [Getty]

The Egyptian government denied on Sunday that any foreign investment deal in prime Red Sea coastal land in Ras Gamila has yet been officially approved amid local and regional reports saying otherwise.  

The official spokesman for the Ministry of Public Enterprise, Mansour Abdelghany, told state-run Ahram online that “no offer for the development of Ras Gamila would be considered until an international advisory firm is tasked with designing "an optimal investment plan for the zone.”

Ras Gamila, located in South Sinai’s Sharm El-Sheikh resort city, has recently been making local and regional news headlines, with the Saudi Ajlan and Bros Holding Group reportedly being in touch with the Egyptian government to make $US 1.5 billion worth of initial investments in the area.

According to Abdelghany, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly had formed an official committee of experts “to consider the zone's development plans and to explore lucrative investment opportunities for the area.”

The New Arab could not reach a representative of Ajlan and Bros to shed more light on the matter at the time of publication

Ras Gamila (meaning 'Delightful Cape' in Arabic) is located near the islands of Tiran and Sanafir, transferred by Egypt to Saudi Arabia in 2022. It is close to a popular diving spot not far from Sharm El-Sheikh.

The land of Ras Gamila 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 had earlier carried conflicting information on its size and value, 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). Estimates of its value range from $250 million to $15 billion. 

Ras Gamila is one of the few remaining state-owned coastal lands in the area.

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.

Egypt has aggressively been pursuing the sale of state assets to wealthy Gulf nations amid an unforgiving economic crisis, foreign debts, and a significant budget deficit.

Earlier in February this year, 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 Madbouly as "one of the biggest deals of its kind."

Experts believe that the recent foreign investment deals with wealthy Gulf nations could only provide a short-term boost to Egypt's economy, though.