Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed in Egypt land dispute

HRH Prince Alwaleed

Forbes | Apr. 12 2011

Kerry A Dolan

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the richest man in the Middle East, had a grand vision for turning a swath of land in southern Egypt into an agricultural marvel. Now that land has become part of a political struggle, in the wake of the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Since 1998 Alwaleed has invested $127 million in 100,00 acres (40,470 hectares) of land in the Nile River delta Tushka agricultural project (also known as Toshka). The land is owned by Alwaleed’s Kingdom Agricultural Development Co., which is part of his Saudi-listed Kingdom Holding investment vehicle. Egypt’s public prosecutor’s office said Sunday it froze the land controlled by Alwaleed because the original sale of the land violated the law, Reuters reported on Monday.

A new report today quotes Egypt’s state news agency MENA as saying that Alwaleed gave up his claim to the the contested land. Alwaleed reportedly did not want to enter international arbitration over the ownership rights to the land. My calls and emails to Alwaleed’s spokespeople in Riyadh were not returned.

Forbes warned in February that the uprising in Egypt might have a spillover effect on billionaires with investments in the country (see Entangled In Egypt). Given the prosecutor’s clear effort to go after Mubarak’s alleged billions of dollars in assets (or, more unlikely, hundreds of billions of dollars of assets), it’s not surprising that the prosecutor is investigating deals cut by the Mubarak regime as well. It seems unlikely, however, that Alwaleed would so quickly give up the land in Egypt.

There is very likely more to be revealed regarding this dispute. Stay tuned.

Original source: Forbes


  1. Talib Murad Ali Elam,DVM,PhD, Retired FAO Regional Officer
    16 Apr 2011

    Each of the great pharaohs of Egypt had monuments constructed in the form of temples, pyramids or tombs that can be identified with his reign, the most famous of these being the three pyramids of Geeza. With end of the era of the great pharaohs and their dynasties the building of these monuments died out and the sands of time turned the once great edifices into the archeological wonders we see today. From the time of Cleopatra there were no rulers who left an enduring mark on Egypt until the great Mohamed Ali Pasha, some two centuries ago. The Pasha’s goal was to establish Egypt as a powerful European-Style state and he nationalized Egypt leaving his finger print on many beneficial developments, especially in agriculture, and under his rule the country’s water and irrigation system was developed. In the 1950’s, under the rule of President Jamal Abdul Nasser, the Aswan dam was constructed across the Nile changing the agriculture and improving the way of life of Egyptians forever thereby making Nasser’s legacy to his country. Then President Sadat paved the way for three decades of peace with Israel and the peace treaty between the two countries is always linked to Sadat’s name. President Mubarak announced that he would build ‘a fourth pyramid’ in Egypt, and by doing so his ambition of becoming one of the great leaders of the Nile valley. This outstanding construction was to be the Toshka project by which water from Lake Nasser would be pumped through a 30 Km channel to irrigate the great desert to the south west of the Nile. This development was hailed as the savior of Egypt, the means of ensuring that the food baskets food of Egypt, and the Arab world, would be filled, and provide the job opportunities for the great numbers of Egypt’s young unemployed. Instead Arab landgrabbers bought hundreds of thousands acres of the land targeted by the project at the cheap price of 10$ an acre and the establishment of a research station near the Aswan dam. I saw this posh research station and many others like it in other Arab countries, each supposed to help with improving food production, yet achieving little if anything. The cost of food in the Middle East is always rising and the countries of the region are heavily dependent on imported food. The cost of the Toshka project was astronomical and the media hype for this ‘fourth pyramid’, the great achievement of President Mubarak, was beyond tolerance. Now, the Attorney General of Egypt is taking a particular interest in the mismanagement of the Toshka land and one wonders what mark in Egypt’s history will eventually be attributed to Mubarak.

  2. Tamer Semida
    14 Apr 2011

    I dose not know why The new Egyptian Government fight The billionaire-Youth Prince Alwaleed, the old government were gift the Egyptian graduate youth 5-acres of land to initiate his future, and depending on Alwaleed is a youth, of course they will gift prince Alwaleed land according to his future as prince and billionaire " and no problem if he is Egyptian or no / or use these land or gust keep it for a day may be will help him in his future".

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