Ruwaad, a UAE-based real estate, hospitality and tourism investment and development company, announced during Cityscape 2008, plans to develop ‘Amazulu World’, a multi-billion dollar themed entertainment and mixed-use destination development on the north coast of Durban in South Africa.
The project will be a master-planned, uniquely African destination development covering approximately 16, 500 hectares of land, and will be the biggest and most comprehensive development of its kind anywhere in the African continent. As a vibrant, harmonious and integrated leisure, living and working environment which is designed to be eco-friendly, minimise the impact on the area’s natural surroundings and embrace the area’s rich cultural and historical heritage, Amazulu World will incorporate many distinctive features to appeal to national, regional, and international visitors.
“Amazulu World, with a size of almost 16 500 hectares is the single largest development to be initiated in African history. We are very proud to be leading this hugely exciting development and to be bringing to investors, residents and tourists in Africa a world-class destination experience, in collaboration with our international partners, ” commented Hanif Merchant, Chairman of Ruwaad.
Hayan Merchant, Group Chief Executive Officer of Ruwaad stated: “Amazulu World will have a perfect blend of development zones. Among the key elements are Africa’s first world-class internationally branded entertainment theme park, as well as Africa’s largest shopping destination, Africa’s most comprehensive and advanced sports village development, Africa’s largest lifestyle community and Africa’s first dedicated education and health village; alongside a number of hotels, resorts and spas, a marina, a variety of residential offerings, community facilities, and nature reserves.”
Hayan Merchant explained how South Africa was the natural choice for the destination, especially in terms of the ongoing infrastructural development and predicted economic growth in the country, and described how the development will bring a significant economic uplift to the region.
“South Africa does not only offer an excellent year-round climate and some of the world’s most outstanding natural beauty, but recent developments in the country have been pushing it to become one of the strongest emerging markets in the world. The 2010 Soccer World Cup, heavy investment in infrastructure including upgrading railways and expanding ports, and the recent surge of significant foreign investments in telecommunications and tourism projects, will support this development in becoming the Destination Choice of Africa, and into one of the leading destinations in the world, ” said Merchant.
The proposed development is directly north of the Thukela River and is located east and west of the N2 national road, a regional path of growth that connects the city of Durban with Richards Bay and the rest of the northern KwaZulu-Natal province. Furthermore, the project will be situated close to the US$1 billion new King Shaka International Airport.
A development on the scale planned by Ruwaad is expected to have a significant, positive impact on the South African economy.
Initial studies indicate that Amazulu World will create more than 200, 000 new jobs, and will increase tourism to the region by almost 40% through attracting millions of tourists. Through which, Ruwaad are hoping to provide a large number of opportunities and a sustainable future for the community living close to the project and in the KwaZulu-Natal province in general.
HM King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, the King of KwaZulu-Natal commented: “Ruwaad has demonstrated to our community its firm commitment to developing a destination that fits inline with our area’s unique natural, cultural and historical character. With confidence, the local community is hugely excited to welcome Ruwaad to our province, and we look forward to the future employment, and economic growth that will contribute to the sustainability of our area; for the inhabitants of today and those for generations to come.”
The Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Sibusiso Ndebele, commented that he is confident the Amazulu World destination will pave the way forward for even more foreign investment to come into South Africa and that the destination would “make South Africa a sustainable destination of choice and an economic hub that will boost trade, tourism and development for the entire African continent.”
Ruwaad is moving swiftly to complete the social and community participation procedures for the project, in order to obtain the approvals required from the South African government, necessary to begin the project’s construction. The project is scheduled to be built in multiple phases over a period of 25 years.
Ruwaad is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Dubai 9 Group, a UAE-based investment company with almost 40 years of experience; with investments across more than ten industry sectors across four continents.
Ruwaad has significant international experience in investing in and developing key projects in various parts of the world as its holding company, Dubai 9 Group is one of the three founding members of Enshaa Holdings. Enshaa, through Emirates Sunland, is developing and managing the Palazzo Versace Resort on Australia’s Gold Coast; the Palazzo Versace Resort in Dubai; the 80-storey D1 Tower, the White Bay master-planned community in Umm Al Quwain, the Emirates Financial Towers in the Dubai International Financial Centre; and the Karachi Financial Towers in Pakistan, amongst other projects.
The project will draw on the Ruwaad team’s wide range of development expertise and experience, as gleaned from a number of highly successful projects around the globe including Disneyworld in Orlando, US; Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan; Sentosa Island in Singapore and Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Apart from destination developments, real estate development, hotels and resorts, the Dubai 9 Group’s areas of investment include signage and visual communications, media and advertising, executive education, human capital consulting, consumer electronics, aluminium and steel fabrication and industrial coatings. Ruwaad’s role is to diversify and globalize the Dubai 9 Group’s business portfolio in the real estate, hospitality and tourism sectors with its initial focus on the Middle East, Africa and Asia.