A huge new development in Khartoum in Sudan, the largest yet for Africa is getting underway.
Developed by the Alsunut Development Company, the scheme will create a massive new residential and commercial district built from scratch and featuring dozens of new towers.
Called Almogran, the scheme is named after the Arabic word for "point of meeting". The project will take up 1,700 acres of land on a secured flood plain on the banks of the White Nile River and feature 6 kilometres of waterfront.
The scale of the scheme is mind boggling, with phase one alone including 44 commercial plots, 18 hotels, 700 apartments and parking for 15,000 cars offering a floorspace of 1,616,000 square metres.
The buildings will range in height from several floors all the way up to skyscrapers of 35 levels depending on which plot they are located on. As well as the 63 towers, there's also bridges, roads and other infrastructure plus the likes of a golf course, 650 villas and 7,236 more apartments for a future phase of the scheme.
When all is combined this will set the developer back a cool $4 billion. If you take into account just how cheap things are in Sudan and have a look at the local purchasing parity figures the project cost becomes even more impressive in a country where the average income is a mere $500 a year.
Backing the project as partners is the Sudanese conglomerate, the Dal Group and the Sudanese National Insurance Fund but whether they can actually go-ahead remains to be seen as contracts have yet to be signed for clients to occupy the buildings and given how poor Sudan is the sheer scale of it may be too much to ever fill.
Sudan also doesn't have the best reputation, particularly with western investors so the developers are angling this scheme more at ex-pat Sudanese who having gotten used to a certain living standard abroad will want all the western mod-cons back home too and Chinese investors. China is the recipient of 80% of the Sudanese oil production.
One thing that is not such an issue, although it is high in the consciousness of foreigners is the ongoing civil war. Sudan is a massive country so large that what happens in one part of it does not necessarily effect another. Khartoum is in a world of its own compared to Darfur.
Work is already underway on the infrastructure and enabling works and the first buildings are due to be completed in 2007 although whether the rest of the estate is realised remains to be seen.