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Saudi Group promises 100 million dollar investment in the Bazaruto Archipelago

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clubofmozambique (2010-12-06) The Aujan Group of Saudi Arabia plans to invest about 100 million US dollars in Santa Carolina island, in the Bazaruto Archipelago, in the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane, according to the group’s chairperson, Adel Aujan.

Speaking to AIM in Riyadh, Aujan said his group has been working on plans for Santa Carolina (sometimes known as “Paradise Island”) for about five years.

“We concluded that now is the right time to advance with the project”, he added. “Implementation will begin in 2011 and is due to be finished by 2013”.

The Saudi design is for a complete holiday resort, with a hotel, apartments, a spa, and all the high quality components needed to compete with other Indian Ocean resorts (in, for example, Mauritius, Seychelles or the Maldives).

Aujan pointed out that Santa Carolina is just two hours flight from Johannesburg, which puts it in excellent competitive position.

The investment will be undertaken by the Aujan subsidiary, Rani Resorts, which already operates five resorts in Mozambique, including its flagship hotel, the Indigo Bay Resort spa on Bazaruto, the largest island in the archipelago.

Rani also operates the Lugenda Wilderness Camp in the northernmost province of Niassa, the Pemba Beach Hotel on the coast of Cabo Delgado province, and the islands of Matemo and Medjumbe, off the Cabo Delgado coast.

Aujan has a passion for Mozambique that he makes no attempt to hide. In the Saturday edition of the Riyadh English language publication “Arab News”, he wrote an article claiming that Mozambique is becoming “the brightest star in Africa”.

When AIM asked why he was so enthusiastic, Aujan replied “I really like Mozambique and its people, because of historical ties, and the extremely beautiful beaches”.

He added that the Mozambican leadership inspires confidence, and encourages and facilitates investments. “These were the main reasons I came”, he said.

There were plenty of difficulties facing investors, he added – particularly the lack of good roads, and difficulties in electricity and water supplies. Nor is access by air as convenient as he would like – but Aujan was sure that the benefits of investing in Mozambique outweighed the difficulties.

Santa Carolina was once a popular tourist resort, but the existing hotel has been derelict for many years. The Mozambican government awarded the concession to develop Santa Carolina in 2006 to the British group Echo Delta Holdings, registered in the Isle of Man.

The Rani Resorts investment was first mentioned in 2008, as a joint venture between the Saudi group and Echo Delta. The initial figure for the investment was 50 million dollars – but Aujan has now doubled that.

Santa Carolina, 3,000 metres long and 500 metres wide, is part of the Bazaruto National Park. This park, established in 1971, was designed to protect endangered species.

Its population of 250 dugongs (marine animals) is the largest counted on the entire East African coast.

Visitors to the crystalline waters of the archipelago can also see at least two species of dolphin and three species of whale, while five species of turtle nest on its shores.

Source: AIM NEWS

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