Red Sea bridge, towns to cost $200 bln

June 03, 2008, Tuesday/ 19:33:00/ REUTERS
Dubai-based Middle East Development said it plans to develop a project to build the first bridge across the Red Sea linking Yemen and Djibouti, and associated new urban areas, at a total cost of $200 billion.
Middle East Development, which is controlled by Saudi businessman Tarek Mohammed bin Laden, will invest at least $10 billion in the project and seek to raise the remainder from other investors and financial institutions, Issam Halabi, vice president for technical affairs, told reporters on the sidelines of a MEED conference in Dubai on Monday. "We will have seed capital of at least $10 billion ... and $190 billion in project finance," Halabi said. The bridge, which will be 28.5 kilometres long, and carry vehicles, trains, natural gas and water, will cost $14 billion, with construction completed in phases over seven to 15 years, Halabi said. The associated town projects -- one in Yemen and one in Djibouti -- will include residential, commercial, healthcare and entertainment areas, Halabi said. The one in Yemen could be home to as many as 5 million people and that in Djibouti to 1.5 million people, he said. Tarek bin Laden is a half brother of Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Qaeda.

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