Prince Sultan Khalil Ibrahim Albalishi, billionaire founder and CEO of Dubai-based Rind Properties, revealed on Thursday that he was targeting deals in Zimbabwe’s real estate and aviation sectors as he arrived to meet the authorities in Harare.
Albalishi, who had already lodged investment proposals with the Zimbabwe Investment Development Authority (Zida) before his arrival, said he was also keen to explore opportunities in the southern African country’s mining industry.
The young tycoon is a member of one of the UAE’s ultra-rich royal families.
He has already established a real estate empire with a footprint in major global markets.
In an interview with Standardbusiness after landing at Robert Mugabe International Airport, Albalishi said his decision to join a string of UAE tycoons seeking opportunities in the country was made after visiting the Zimbabwe pavilion at the ‘Dubai Expo, an international exhibition. which has just ended.
He said he had options to visit Kenya and South Africa, but chose Zimbabwe on the advice of a local pilot who works with Emirates, the global airline.
“The purpose of this trip is to seek opportunities in real estate, mining and aviation – the commercial and private side of aviation, including the establishment of a flight school in Zimbabwe which will be the first in the gender,” Albalishi said, speaking through a local representative.
“We had commitments at the Dubai Expo. The value of the proposal (filed with Zida) is that it will bring change here in Zimbabwe.
“Right now, after Zida’s clearance, I’m sure everything would go as planned. We’re looking at about a week (clearance time).
Albalishi’s Ring Properties has extended its roots in Dubai to secure deals in several global markets including France, United States of America, Lebanon, Kuwait, Algeria, Libya and Great Britain.
His ambition is to replicate the firm’s success elsewhere in the Zimbabwean market.
It joins several Dubai firms that have recently traveled to Zimbabwe to tap deals across multiple sectors, encouraged by better access since Emirates launched flights to Harare around a decade ago.
Zimbabwe has also launched an offensive to establish stronger diplomatic and commercial ties between the two countries, and trade between the two countries has increased significantly over the past decade.
One of Dubai’s biggest deals involved Albwardy Investments, which in 2020 took full control of the Meikles Hotel after paying US$20 million to run the iconic facility.
The transaction, which had been on the radar for years, was completed after the support of more than 70% of Meikles Limited shareholders.
Albwardy, which operates in more than 20 countries with a total staff of 10,000 worldwide, has pledged to spend US$30 million to renovate the 312-room hotel.
It is a holding company founded in 1976 by a national of the United Arab Emirates, Ali Saeed Juma Albwardy.
In 2020, its annual turnover would exceed US$1 billion.