Dubai Expo 2020 secured $1 billion in deals for the mega-development in Lahore

According to Imran Amin, CEO of the Ravi Urban Development Authority, Expo 2020 Dubai offers vast business opportunities for participating nations

At Expo 2020 Dubai this month, Punjab will sign MoUs worth $1 billion that will help accelerate work on multi-billion dollar development projects in Lahore, a top official has said. Expo 2020 Dubai is a terrific event that offers enormous business potential to participating countries, said Imran Amin, chief executive officer of Ravi Urban Development Authority (Ruda).

“Expo allows us to connect 190-plus nations under one roof. In an interview with Khaleej Times on the sidelines of an event hosted by Pakistan Association Dubai, Amin explained that he has had very fruitful discussions with local investors and Pakistani diaspora about investing in the $9 billion Ruda project.

The Ravi Urban Development Authority will collaborate with Dubai Sustainable City to develop a similar infrastructure at Ruda to promote sustainability, he explained. “We intend to replicate the success of Dubai’s business model in Pakistan. As of today, I believe Dubai was at the same stage as we are today,” Amin said. Also, Ruda is working on incorporating some of Masdar’s key features into the development of Ruda sustainability business model.

Game-changing projects CBD, Ruda

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision is reflected in the development of the Punjab’s Central Business District (CBD) and Ruda. The projects will both prove game changers and contribute significantly to the economy and creation of jobs. For the first time in the province, we are developing a vertical city in the CBD. In the next three to five years, you will see up to 120 highrise buildings in the CBD as infrastructure development has already begun,” he said. Ruda will be completed in three phases by 2035, according to him, explaining its key features and timeline.

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With a total area of 102,000 acres, the development will be the world’s longest riverfront at 46km. In Phase I, which is scheduled to be completed in 2025, six specialized cities will be developed, including residential, medical, commercial, mixed-use, downtown, and urban farms,” he said.

The second phase of the project will be completed in two stages by 2030. Stage one will encompass the development of the government and financial city, while stage two will focus on the development of an innovation city consisting of five zones. According to Amin, three major cities – sports city, eco city, and knowledge city – are part of the third phase, which is expected to be completed by 2035.

Financing no longer a concern

According to Amin, government has formulated a comprehensive strategy that will enable CBD and Ravi Urban Development projects to be realized on schedule. Our flagship projects have been committed to by local and international investors. There have been some significant commitments at Dubai Expo 2020, and there will be more to come,” he said. In addition to holding roadshows in Qatar and Malaysia very soon, we have received a lot of interest from overseas Pakistanis and investors there. Furthermore, the province has also allocated “reasonable funds” for the development of these two projects, he added. Even the neighbouring country of Afghanistan has shown interest in CBD and Ravi Urban development, according to Amin. The two projects have also drawn the attention of Afghan investors, he said.

The role of Pakistanis living overseas

He said that over nine million Pakistanis living abroad are one of the biggest assets of Pakistan and play a crucial role in its development. Foreign investors are welcome to invest in the CBD and Ravi urban development projects and be a part of Pakistan’s successful ventures, he said. He said overseas Pakistanis are the backbone of the national economy and will receive special packages and incentives. According to him, Pakistani investors in Dubai, the United States and Europe will help Pakistan attract international brands. The talks on the sidelines of Expo 2020 have made good progress toward catching the attention of some leading companies in the hospitality, tech, infrastructure, and financial sectors, he said.

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