London, June 3 : The Dubai-based construction company controlled by a half-brother of Osama Bin Laden, Tarek, is planning a 100 billion pounds project to connect Africa to the Arabian Peninsula with a bridge across the Red Sea.
The Middle East Development LLC will build two new cities in Djibouti and Yemen and a bridge linking them.
Tarek Mohammad Bin Laden will provide at least 10 billion dollars of seed financing for the 100 billion pounds project, said Issam Halabi, Middle East Development's vice president of technical affairs.
"The Bin Ladens are originally from Yemen, and this is part of Sheikh Tarek's desire to fight poverty and encourage trade and connect the Gulf Arab region with Muslim Africa," Halabi said.
The group will invest at least 5 billion pounds in the project and seek to raise the rest from other investors and financial institutions.
The bridge, the centrepiece of the development, will carry vehicles, trains, natural gas and water, news.Scotsman.com quoted Halabi, as saying.
The crossing aims to provide a safe route between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa region, as the waterway between them is highly dangerous due to Somali pirates.
Cowi, of Denmark, the consultant on the world's longest planned causeway linking Qatar with Bahrain, is advising on the bridge, which will cost seven billion pounds, with the entire scheme to be built in phases over seven to 15 years.
The company aims to house as many as five million people in Yemen and 1.5 million in Djibouti under the project.