Salama A Salama writes in Al-Ahram:
I have ranted on occasion against Gulf-sponsored mega-real estate projects that seem to be sprouting everywhere in this country. I am not against investment, or mega-projects, or Gulf money, but against the way they’re being put together. It is my wish that the government encourage Gulf investors to head into industrial and productive projects that generate jobs, instead of focussing on luxury housing that benefits only a small class of the super rich. This inclination to build luxury resorts and palaces is insane, for it reinforces the values of wasteful and ostentatious consumption and flies in the face of social sensitivity.
This type of investment is draining the money and savings of Egyptians. People are buying fancy villas and mansions in the desert and on the sand of the sea. People are building fancy dwellings to live in for a few days every year, and to travel to in four-wheel drive vehicles. Why don’t they invest their savings in something more productive? Why don’t they buy the Banque du Caire, to give but one example?
Who got it into our heads that Egypt, with its current social and economic situation can compete with Dubai, Qatar and the Gulf in luxury lifestyle? The oil boom, with its attendant business deals, commissions and transit financial services, is damaging us. This immersion in luxury consumption we see on our beaches in summer is not taking us anywhere. As a society, we’ve grown divided between a minority of the super rich and a majority of the super poor.