A major new city that will eventually house a population of up to 90,000 people in affordable accommodation in Bahrain looks set to finally go ahead after the project gained a Dh2.9 billion grant from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD).
Al Madina Al Shamliya, or North City, project is set to be built on reclaimed land to the north of the island, close to Budaiya. It is being built in phases, with the first worth Dh374 million set to start shortly now that funding has been agreed. It will provide infrastructure services to support building work on Islands 13 and 14.
This will be followed by a second, Dh2.56bn phase that will support construction of the first 2,694 homes on the site.
ADFD is providing the development grant to Bahrain’s ministry of housing, which is overseeing the development of North City. It said that the project will be part of a series of interlinked, man-made islands that are, according to the kingdom’s minister of housing, Basim bin Yacob, “part of a much broader plan to build 40,000 new homes for our people”.
ADFD’s funding is part of an overall aid package worth US$10bn being provided by four Gulf states.
The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar each pledged to provide $2.5bn to Bahrain in 2011.
ADFD is overseeing the UAE’s investment.
Already this year, the UAE has provided a grant worth Dh3.73bn to help fund the expansion of Bahrain’s International Airport, just after a contract to build a new terminal was awarded to a joint venture between Arabtec and Turkey’s TAV Construction.
Mr bin Yacob said that the UAE was “a committed friend and partner” in Bahrain’s development efforts.
“We are hugely appreciative of this funding which will help us [relieve] some of our chronic housing shortages here in Bahrain with the North City project. I hope that such economic and social development, such as with our new airport, will be a catalyst for national and regional growth.”
Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, the director-general of ADFD, said: “The North City project is an important project which will be an economic boost to Bahrain through new construction and opportunities as well as easing urgent overcrowding issues.”
The project has been subject to some delay, with tenders for initial infrastructure packages floated two years ago. However, work has progressed, with Bahrain-based consultancy firm SSH being appointed as contract manager and site supervisor for the infrastructure and bridge works in February this year.
It said the infrastructure works involved installing over 5.5 kilometres of roads and utilities such as water, drainage, irrigation and telecoms networks, as well as both road and pedestrian bridges connecting the islands.
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