Today from Hiiraan Online:  _
Decision on $200 billion Yemen-Djibouti development ‘due by April’

Dubai-based developer says it is ‘confident’ that approval will be given for the creation of two new cities and a 28.5km bridge spanning the Red Sea.

By Ben Flanagan
Mar 17th, 2010

An ambitious plan to build a 28.5km bridge between Yemen and Djibouti could be approved by the end of April, according to the Dubai-based developer Al Noor Holding Investment.

Mohammed Ahmed al-Ahmed, the company’s CEO, tells Kipp that he is ‘confident’ that the respective governments will give the go-ahead for the $200 billion development, which includes the construction of a major city on either side of the bridge.

“We have a memorandum of understanding between our company and the governments of Yemen and Djibouti. The next step is to [sign] the framework [agreement], which has been officially submitted to the Yemen and Djibouti governments,” says al-Ahmed.

“We are expecting this later this month or next month. The moment we have received the signatures of the framework, all the companies are ready to move forward.”

Al-Ahmed added that he is “comfortable and confident” that approval will be given. “We have received very high support from these governments,” he says.

The estimated cost of the bridge itself is $14 billion, with Danish design consultant Cowi having already submitted the architectural plans. The structure, dubbed the ‘Bridge of the Horns’, will carry vehicles and trains, and include a natural gas pipeline.

The ‘Al Noor Cities’ will include one 1,500 sq km city to be located on the southwestern tip of Yemen, and a similar 1,000 sq km city in Djibouti, located on the Horn of Africa.
Al-Ahmed says that Al Noor Holding Investment has received many enquiries from potential construction partners. “The Chinese, in particular, are in interested in doing the project from A to Z,” he says. “But that wouldn’t work for political reasons: The whole world needs to be involved, not just one country.”

Al Noor Holding Investment a sister company of Middle East Development, an organization founded by Saudi businessman Tarek Mohammed bin Laden.