Invest-Gate at MIPIM 2023: Marking Egypt’s Spot on the Global Property Map

Invest-Gate at MIPIM 2023: Marking Egypt’s Spot on the Global Property Map

As an official media partner of MIPIM 2023, Invest-Gate had the honor of being the voice of the Egyptian real estate sector with its special MIPIM issue while accompanying Egypt’s top players in the property market.

MIPIM 2023 was held between 14 and 17 March on the scenic Mediterranean shores of the French Riviera in Cannes, featuring 73 of the world’s top 100 investment managers and welcoming around 20,000 participants as well as 2,400 companies from more than 80 countries, in addition to over 2,000 financial and investment companies.

This year’s edition of MIPIM was significantly larger than the event held last year, opening up a wide variety of attractive opportunities for participating real estate markets to showcase their latest developments. Close attention was given to the “Road to Zero” stage which was dedicated to decarbonization. It was one of the six new stages launched at MIPIM 2023 and was curated by Urban Land Institute, along with the World Green Building Council and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The 2023 edition of the conference aimed at assisting exhibitors and attendees by providing them with best practices and case studies. MIPIM 2023 proposed concrete solutions coming from different perspectives on decarbonization by creating a future business model that is environmentally sustainable.

The Road to Zero stage demonstrates MIPIM’s role in enabling the real estate industry to generate innovative solutions for a low-carbon future. MIPIM is a catalyst for solutions, combining face-to-face discussions, effective leadership, development opportunities and global capital to drive change. It is an open platform to connect and inspire the international real estate community to create more sustainable, livable and prosperous properties for all.

Thus, MIPIM 2023 featured five other new stages, including the Infrastructure stage, which looks at what impact water, energy, data centers, transportation and other types of infrastructure have on property development and how the world can work together to solve global issues, such as climate change. The Make It Happen stage will feature conversations about case studies and collaboration.

As part of the Egyptian pavilion, several of Egypt’s top property developers were active participants in this year’s edition, including Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD), Tatweer Misr, Mountain View, LMD, GV Investments, cred, Misr Italia Properties, and Nile Developments.

During the event, Invest-Gate conducted live interviews with the market’s key players and government representatives to get their points of view about their participation in the event, and the topics discussed through MIPIM’s panel discussions, including sustainability, funds, exporting real estate, and decarbonization.

Participation in MIPIM

Eng. Khaled Abbas, Chairman and CEO of the Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD), stated that the MIPIM exhibition is one of the key real estate exhibitions, adding that his company is keen to participate in the event to market projects in the NAC to investors abroad. Abbas said that the company is planning to maintain a steady presence in most real estate exhibitions in the coming period to promote investment opportunities in the NAC.

Eng. Fathallah Fawzy, Vice Chairman of the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association (EBA) and Chairman of the Real Estate Development and Contracting Committee, said: “All developers should attend the MIPIM exhibition to explore new ideas and types of projects and gain expertise and experiences that could be transferred to Egypt.”

Dr. Ahmed Shalaby, President and CEO of Tatweer Misr, mentioned that Tatweer Misr participated in the MIPIM exhibition for the first time in 2018. Since 2019, the company has been participating in the event as part of the Egyptian pavilion. Participation in MIPIM 2023 reflects the significance of Egypt’s presence at international events. It also promotes the country’s position as a destination for foreign investments. Through its presence at MIPIM, Tatweer Misr can keep up-to-date with the latest global trends as well as modern technologies in smart cities and sustainability issues. The company can also explore the experiences of other countries.

Eng. Amr Soliman, Founder and Chairman of Mountain View, stated that the current edition of the MIPIM exhibition was better than last year, which was affected by the Covid-19 crisis. He added that the exhibition offered an opportunity for around 30,000 people from all over the world to explore investment opportunities in the real estate sector.

Mr. Sherif Hamouda, Chairman of GV Investments, noted that “GV Investments came to this session of the MIPIM exhibition with a clearer vision and a deeper understanding of the significance of the event. Our participation in the exhibition falls within the company’s plan for the international awareness and marketing of Tarboul Industrial City, our key project and one of the most important projects for Egypt’s industrial future. GV’s pavilion achieved good results at the event.”

“We have prepared a complete record of investment opportunities offered by our projects, as well as the potential risk factors of these investments, in addition to the facilities provided by the Egyptian state,” he added. “Contracts will be signed with businessmen from Qatar, and companies from France, Luxembourg, and South Korea. Our promotional plan is going well.”

Eng. Amr Sultan, CEO of LMD, commended Egypt’s participation in the MIPIM exhibition, explaining that there is a strategy to encourage foreign investors to deal with the government first before private companies.

Eng. Ahmed Mansour, CEO of cred, expressed his happiness for participating in the MIPIM exhibition for the second time in a row, noting that attending such an event is a great opportunity for Egypt to display its huge real estate projects, in addition to benefiting from other diverse experiences.

Eng. Mohamed Hany El-Assal, CEO and Managing Director of Misr Italia Properties (MIP), said that this was the first time for Misr Italia to participate in MIPIM. He expressed his optimism about the performance of the Egyptian pavilion, which his company was a part of.

In the same context, Eng. Mohamed Khaled El-Assal, CEO and Managing Director of MIP, explained that MIPIM is one of the most important international real estate exhibitions, and Egypt’s participation was essential. He pointed out that this is the most appropriate time to invest in the tourism sector in Egypt. The top executive unveiled that MIP is focusing on tourism, as the company is currently building four hotels in the New Administrative Capital (NAC) and New Cairo, and two hotels in Ain Sokhna, in addition to two hotels in North Coast, which will be launched in the coming summer.

Eng. Mohamed Taher, Chairman of Nile Developments, stated: “This is the first participation of Nile Developments in the MIPIM exhibition. We have a very strong real estate product that is capable of competition. Our main project is the Tycoon Tower project, which is the tallest hotel in Africa. The project took 17 months of continuous efforts in studying to provide an unparalleled product. The project features a distinguished location, and unique design and building requirements. We have collaborated with Millennium Hotels and Resorts to provide a design that is competitive with the designs of Downtown Dubai.”

Furthermore, Mona Samir, Director of Strategic Business and Governmental Affairs at Schneider Electric Northeast Africa and Levant, said that the company participated in the MIPIM 2023 exhibition to showcase its latest technological solutions applied in the real estate sector, including their application in smart cities and buildings. She elaborated that these solutions aim to achieve the highest efficiency rates in energy/natural resource consumption and sustainability based on best practices and international standards.

During the MIPIM exhibition, Egyptian property developers signed several partnerships with companies and institutions abroad. Tatweer Misr signed an MoU with the Saudi Arabian Ministries of Investment, Municipal and Rural Affairs, and Housing to explore investment opportunities in the kingdom and boost government initiatives to facilitate procedures required for real estate development.

Dr. Ahmed Shalaby, President and CEO of Tatweer Misr, stated that the Saudi real estate sector has many competitive elements that encouraged his company to consider investment opportunities in the kingdom, being the largest real estate market in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Another important highlight of MIPIM was Mountain View’s newly formed partnership with Saudi Arabia investment holding company, Sisban, which has global subsidiaries in various sectors, including the commercial industry. The partnership enables Mountain View to expand its innovative concepts and fulfill market demands.

Eng. Amr Soliman, Founder and Chairman of Mountain View, says: “Our strategy at Mountain View includes expanding regionally and internationally to export our innovation and successful experience in establishing integrated urban projects based on the science of happiness to other countries.”

Real Estate Sustainability & Net Zero

Soliman stressed that the state must emphasize the significance of sustainability and the benefits resulting from its application, pointing out the importance of laws and regulations in accomplishing this goal while working to minimize transgressions. He further explained that it is important to focus on promoting sustainability on an individual level, since individuals are the source of the problem and yet can also be part of the solution. Soliman added that either the Real Estate Investment Division or the Real Estate Development Chamber should release a list of companies that have applied strict sustainability standards so that they can act as role models for other companies to follow.

Hany El-Assal noted that sustainability is a matter of great importance which all relevant parties must prioritize, pointing out that it is an integral part of his company’s projects starting from the design stage.

With regard to sustainability, Khaled El-Assal agreed on its utmost importance, highlighting that it is one of the key principles that are applied by MIP in its projects, including IL Bosco City. He indicated that the state has prioritized sustainability, and this approach has been manifested in the NAC. The top executive pointed out the government’s encouragement of green architecture and renewable energy, adding that there is a need for laws that obligate factories producing building materials (such as steel and cement) to reduce carbon emissions.

Khaled El-Assal noted that the biggest obstacle to implementing sustainability in the real estate sector is the cost, especially amid rising inflation. He adds that, in the long-term, there will be a great profit from its application, pointing out that there are initiatives from the European Union to encourage green investment, and Egyptian banks can act as an intermediate to provide loans at low rates to encourage sustainability.

For his part, Abbas added that the Egyptian real estate market is a strong market, and there is a great demand for properties in Egypt, stressing that the government and developers are investing a lot of effort to improve sustainability. He stated that Egypt’s hosting of COP27 indicates its generous support for sustainability as well as the resolutions and goals of the United Nations.

Abbas explained that the projects in the NAC are different from the projects in other new cities, as they have some special requirements, some of which are based on sustainability, while others are related to water recycling and treatment, in addition to the use of solar power.

For his part, Mansour pointed out that the country has recently moved in the direction of sustainability to a large extent, depending more on renewable energy. He highlighted that this has been reflected in the performance of developers, the application of sustainability requirements, in electricity and irrigation, and the attempt to use clean and renewable energy in all projects.

Sultan stated that sustainability is necessary for the private sector as operational costs are higher, which necessitates the use of less expensive alternatives to reduce carbon emissions and save energy consumption.

Hamouda said “Egypt has begun to realize the importance of sustainability and reducing emissions, albeit a bit late. Tarboul City is a green city and all factories planned to be built in it comply with the conditions of sustainability. We have entered into partnerships with international institutions from Greece and with several parties in Europe to achieve and monitor these conditions.”

Fawzy mentioned “Egypt made major pledges to sustainability at COP27, but it is important that developers adhere to the terms of sustainability, especially with regard to saving electricity and energy consumption, given the current crisis.”

Taher said: “MIPIM exhibition attendees prefer the best and turn-key real estate product. This is what Nile Developments provides. Skyscrapers, like Tycoon Tower, require strong infrastructure, and new cities in Egypt, such as the New Administrative Capital, provide sustainability and smart building requirements, as well as strong infrastructure and technology.”

Samir noted that achieving sustainable development with all its economic, social, and environmental dimensions is a top priority for the Egyptian state and Egypt’s Vision 2030. In that context, Samir says that Schneider Electric is keen on providing the latest solutions in the management of smart buildings and cities, on top of which is the EcoStruxure platform that combines advanced operating technology solutions with the latest information technology applications to achieve the highest levels of energy efficiency.

For her part, Victoria Kate Burrows, Director of Advancing Net Zero, World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), talked about the means to achieve net zero goals in countries, including Egypt. She said that the building and construction sectors are responsible for around 40% of energy-related emissions, not just by the way buildings are used, but – crucially – by the way they are built, because that has a time element.

“We know at the World Green Building Council that we need to build better buildings. We have to be accelerating towards decarbonization and we work with some of the best frontrunners in the industry who are really challenging how far they can push the boundaries in terms of what today’s technology and design approaches can achieve in terms of building performance,” Burrows stressed.

Exporting Real Estate & Attracting Foreign Funds

Moreover, Soliman stressed that there must be different elements to attract foreign funds, highlighting that Mountain View’s City of Happiness offers a unique experience and can prove effective in attracting investments. He revealed that his company has formed partnerships in markets abroad, including the Saudi market.

Hany El-Assal pointed out that real estate funds are not really activated in Egypt, and this is the best time to do so. He commended the government’s decision to grant Egyptian nationality in exchange for buying real estate to attract foreign currencies, stressing that real estate development companies have a major role to play in marketing their projects outside Egypt. He maintains that the NAC has a strong presence in the MIPIM exhibition, where strong opportunities are promoted to attract investors and major real estate funds.

He further remarked that MIPIM is a key opportunity to export real estate, as the exhibition brings together delegations from all countries of the world, including investors and funds that are looking for suitable opportunities, given the fact that real estate prices in Egypt have become attractive and cheap compared to other countries.

In a similar vein, Mansour added that the exhibition is a unique opportunity for exporting real estate, attracting various investment funds, identifying weaknesses in the local market, understanding how investors think, and preparing investment opportunities that are well-studied by trusted entities to attract foreign clients.

Sultan confirmed that the primary goal of his company’s participation in MIPIM is to attract investors and different investment funds, adding that real estate export needs more attention because it offers huge opportunities and several solutions.

Taher says: “Our project Tycoon Tower has received a LEED sustainability certification, qualifying it for export. Egypt provides suitable real estate products for the needs of global investors, and it is expected that many investment funds will enter the Egyptian real estate product market.”

Foreign Investments & Investment Opportunities

Fawzy stated “It is currently difficult for the Egyptian market to attract foreign investments due to the instability of the economy and the exchange rate of the pound, and if they stabilize – which is expected by the end of 2023 – foreign investments will enter the market. Egypt offers great opportunities, with 20 new cities and plenty of land, as well as a huge market of 100 million people.”

“Egyptian expatriates have now a good opportunity to buy a property in Egypt. They dream of buying a home, and that is why they are good clients for Egyptian developers who must reach out to them and attract them,” Fawzy added.

Shalaby stressed the importance of Gulf investments in Egypt’s real estate sector, pointing out that the market has always been attractive for FDIs coming from UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, some of the Gulf investors are looking to buy old existing real estate properties, especially in the hospitality sector that are owned by the government.

With Egypt’s population explosion, the demand for living spaces far exceeds supply, which is why the country’s residential market is hungry for more investments. Shalaby pointed out that the rental and serviced apartments sectors seem to be promising.

For his part, Abbas pointed out that the NAC offers major projects for investments by the Gulf and other projects for local developers, as the government provides facilities for investors.

Green Financing

With Egypt’s real estate sector moving towards becoming more environmentally responsible, COP27 shifted the world’s attention to the country’s growing property market, especially with its efforts to promote sustainability through the use of smart applications.

Shalaby explained: “As a company, we signed agreements with Schneider Electric several years ago to [turn] our developments [into] smart, sustainable, and happy communities. We have a long-term relationship with Schneider in doing that and we are trying to create this awareness through the Egyptian market.”

Shalaby added: “We believe that applying sustainability and smart measures – even if increasing the cost, a little bit – have great benefits for us and for our clients that are much higher, especially that efficiency of electricity and water consumption which we believe it will be improved by about 30-40% and the cut that we are going to see in the cost of living in our communities that will be cut by about to 40% according to recent research.”

Though significant progress has been made regarding sustainability, a lot of work is needed for property developers to become aware of the importance of sustainability, the methods for applying sustainability, the accreditation process, the attractive incentives that it offers and, most importantly, green financing.

Shalaby highlighted that it is important for the market to learn more about green financing and its application, adding that his company has several initiatives in this regard.

The NAC Master Plan

As for the projects that will be launched during the coming period, Abbas noted that there are negotiations for some partnerships on some plots of land with large areas, which will be announced soon; in addition to partnerships for the establishment of management and service companies in the NAC with international companies to provide best services to citizens at the lowest cost.

During 2023, Abbas stated that a portfolio of premium land will be promoted and within a month the advisory video for the second and third phases will be announced, so that with the beginning of 2024, the infrastructure for the second phase will start, and new plots of land will be offered in it.

“In Egypt, we have one of the biggest challenges, which is the increase in the population every year by 2.5%. We’re talking about more than 2.5 million new citizens every year.  This is a big challenge for the government. This also gives us a strong market,” Abbas noted.

“The new capital is one of the new cities which was initiated by His Excellency President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to accommodate the increasing population. In the last ten years, we increased by almost 22 million citizens. It is almost 60 km from Downtown Cairo and also 60 km from the Red Sea, close to all the ports,” Abbas said. “We are ready now to receive lots of investments for the city. We have lots of private sector developers working with us on the city.”

It is worth noting that the city will accommodate the whole government in addition to some iconic projects, including the biggest tower in Africa, the Iconic Tower.



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