News Middle East CEOs optimistic about economic growth, AI integration: study

RIYADH: A neglected neighborhood in Budapest is set to be rejuvenated courtesy of a €5 billion ($5.5 billion) deal with Dubai, according to Bloomberg.

Hungary and the UAE have officially sealed the agreement to recondition a district in Budapest in a Dubai-style, but Bloomberg reported that the project had “drawn criticism even before being formalized.”

Under the deal, Eagle Hills Properties LLC will collaborate with the government to transform a partly abandoned railway station, announced Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto following the signing ceremony with UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani Al-Zeyoudi.

In 2023, Hungarian Minister Janos Lazar revealed plans for the body to invest approximately €1 billion in enhancing the infrastructure surrounding the area. According to Lazar, Prime Minister Viktor Orban emphasized the need for a significant project evoking the styling of Dubai.

However, the proposed development has met with resistance from the municipal government, which views the introduction of a modern hub as discordant with Budapest’s historical skyline, characterized by its absence of towering skyscrapers synonymous with the UAE city’s urban landscape.

Eagle Hills, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, is a prominent Gulf developer with extensive projects in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. 

The company has been expanding its presence in regions requiring modern residential and commercial spaces, boasting significant mixed-use developments in Albania, Serbia, and Ethiopia.

Notably, Eagle Hills is led by Mohamed Alabbar, responsible for Emaar Properties PJSC, which constructed Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower.

The UAE has also invested in Arab countries such as Egypt, with a recent $35 billion funding agreement in Ras El-Hekma, a region on the Mediterranean coast 350 km northwest of Cairo.

The country’s economy is projected to grow by 5 percent in 2024, according to the Minister of the Economy, Abdulla bin Touq Al-Marri.

In an interview with Emirates News Agency, he said that more than 73 percent of the national economy is now non-oil, a historic first for the country. 

His projection was in line with assessments by the Ministry of Finance and S&P Global, which forecast growth of 5.7 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

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