Roman Golovchenko (left) and Mohammed Alabbar. Photo: Alexandra Isaeva
Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko and Chairman of the Arab Emaar Properties Mohammed Alabbar placed a capsule in the foundation of the national exhibition center. It will become the first building in the area where the construction of a smart city for $4 billion will begin. Although there is only an open field at the intersection of the Dolginovsky trakt and the Minsk Ring Road, investors are confident – the first facility will be built in less than a year and a half.
The day before, Alexander Lukashenko met with Mohammed Alabbar and discussed, among other things, the construction of a “smart city” in Minsk. On 2 October, on the outskirts of Minsk, a symbolic laying of a commemorative capsule into the foundation of the future complex took place. Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko, Chairman of the Minsk City Executive Committee Vladimir Kukharev and Presidential Assistant for National Security Viktor Lukashenko were present at the event.
The prime minister said that the arrival of Emaar Properties in Belarus “is a strong signal for other investors looking closely at the Belarusian economy.” “This is probably the first time in our history that we have such an iconic figure in international business,” said Golovchenko, who worked for several years as the Ambassador of Belarus to the UAE.
Photo: Alexandra Isaeva
The work is currently under way to conclude an investment agreement with a company from the UAE. “No exclusive privileges are provided. These are general conditions, which are already quite attractive,” explained Golovchenko.
Muhammad al-Abbar explained that the construction of the national exhibition complex could take about 14-15 months. The Arab businessman noted that it is “important for him to be involved in the implementation of the project.” Therefore, he is building “a house for himself and his family.”
Photo: Alexandra Isaeva
The project is being implemented by the Emirates Blue Sky company, which until early 2020 was Zomex Investment. It created created a multifunctional complex Mayak Minska and was under the control of the Serbian Karić brothers. The decision to rebrand “was made in view of the planned attraction of foreign partners for large-scale investment in the company.”
Emirates Blue Sky is owned by two Cyprus companies, Eliva Trading Limited and Ozalko Holding Limited. In 2008-2012, instead of Ozalko Holding Limited, it was a Cyprus offshore company Canfield. The company is associated with a Belarusian businessman, deputy of the Minsk City Council of Deputies Igor Rusakevich.
At that time, he worked as a deputy director of the Belarusian office of the Russian oil and gas company Itera, which transferred its real estate business under the management of the Karić brothers. It is worth noting that this is not the first large project in Minsk, where Serbia, the UAE and the leadership of Belarus act together.
The construction of a multifunctional center on the site of the BelExpo exhibition center and the 2nd hospital at Kupala Street in the center of Minsk is managed by the KPI Development company. The Minsk city executive committee signed an investment agreement with the UAE company Kopaonik Property Investment, which is part of the Royal Group.
This holding is controlled by the family of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is on friendly terms with Viktor Lukashenko. The name Kopaonik Property Investment chimes with the popular resort in Serbia visited by Lukashenko and where the ruling family of Abu Dhabi is implementing projects.