Picture 2-Al Sunut project
I'm assuming many of you heard about El Fateh Tower/Burj al Fateh. (see picture 1)
El Fateh Tower- A massive Libyan-financed five-star hotel, shaped like a boat's sail, has already changed the city's low-rise skyline and work is well underway to transform parts of the sleepy city centre into a bustling, gleaming 24-hour metropolis.
For me, El Fateh tower is not only a shopping mall and a hotel, it is also a clear sign of development and of Sudan gracefully entering the 21st century. Almost.
Thankfully, we have oil! Both a blessing and a curse. In the case of Sudan it was both. Literally. Oil was a key cause of the second sudanese war and other conflicts. However, it is also a blessing seeing that in less than a decade, my beloved Sudan became Africa's third largest oil-producing country.
ok, many sudanese didn't see any "oil" yet but in some parts of Khartoum, oil could be seen ( not actual oil, I'm talking about the oil money).
Recently, the International Monetary Fund has praised Sudan's reforms and expects the economy to grow by 11% this year - one of the highest rates in Africa.
Another important project taking place in Sudan now is "Al-Sunut"- a vast building site consisting of 10 hotels, shopping malls and a huge residential area located in Al-Mugrun.
People like to refer to it as Africa's Dubai or mabye even New York City. All I know and all I'm sure of is that it will be amazing.
Amir Diglal, from the al-Sunut company behind the project, says the first of several international banks is due to open its doors later this year, with the entire project to be completed by 2014. (see picture 2)
Although many superpowers imposed severe sanctions on Sudan (such as Britain's largest ex-colony), many Arab, African and even South-Asian businessmen are investing their money in the Sudan.
Amir Diglal added that ""The Americans will miss a great opportunity in Sudan," .
Will El-Sunut affect the culture as well?
Here is the interesting part...
Mr Diglal hopes the project will do more than just provide an economic boost.
"The challenge is not money or engineering but changing the culture."
He paints a picture of, no-doubt wealthy, Sudanese people strolling along the banks of the Nile from a top class restaurant to a cinema showing the latest releases.
Some go even further.
"One day, we might even have nightclubs," says one of those involved in the project. ( keep in mind: this person wanted to remain annoymous because he doesn't want problems with the authorities).
Surprisingly, unlike many African and ehm ehm "Arab" countries, alchohol is banned in Sudan. In other words, it is not served anywhere unlike the good old days! Before our very own Islamic revolution ( we did have an Islamic revolution in Sudan although it wasn't a revolution and a shah wasn't involved if you know what I mean!) alcohol was served in places and till this day, you can see the empty bars in the Khartoum hotels.