Kabul New City – Real Estate’s “Next Big Thing”
Having lived and worked with major real estate projects in Dubai in the “Wild West” good old days – when fantastical property developments were launching every month – my ears instantly pricked up when I heard about Kabul New City.
A multi-phased “mega-project,” Kabul New City is the first of its kind of development in Afghanistan. It was conceptualised to address the severe housing shortage as well as lack of employment facing the ever-increasing population of Afghanistan’s capital city, Kabul. With a long term promise of 500,000 housing units for an eventual population of 3 million, plus the creation of an estimated 500,000 jobs, Kabul New City is set to stimulate the country’s economy in ways not imaginable just a year ago.
Attending a recent presentation about Kabul New City, I was able to meet the faces behind the project; the Dehsabz City Development Authority (DCDA). This entity is the regulator and management authority over-seeing the project and liaising with the Government on behalf of private sector investors. Attendees were treated to a state-of-the-art presentation and video, and then lunch was enjoyed with serious investors from as far away as the USA, Europe, and the Arabian Gulf as well as with the top decision-makers from DCDA.
The 740 sq km site features two major urban sub-centres, modern administrative, residential, commercial, and light industrial zones, as well as greenbelt areas and a centrally located Nature Reserve and parks complete with leisure, entertainment and professional sports facilities. The New City master plan was conceptualised by the Government of Japan and the French private sector, and endorsed by the Afghan Cabinet in March 2009. As an added bonus, the northern sector of the project is slated to be developed as a dedicated agro-industry and food processing business incubation hub designed to attract both national and international companies.
And, if one listens to DCDA, this is just the beginning; the potential for further job creation and investment is staggering. A wealth of future opportunities for Afghan businesses lie in construction and infrastructure support as well as the service, light manufacturing, agro-industry, and tourism sectors.
So for those who follow the global real estate development trail, and who speculate as to where The Next Big Thing is happening – look towards Afghanistan and the ancient silk road trading hub city soon to be re-born as Kabul New City.