Abu Dhabi resumes Louvre, Guggenheim projects


ABU DHABI–Abu Dhabi has approved a raft of projects including the delayed branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums after a review of development plans, signaling the oil-exporting Gulf emirate’s support to state-linked enterprises. “Budgets and opening dates were approved for the museum projects in the cultural district on Saadiyat Island,” the website of Abu Dhabi’s Executive Council said on Tuesday without giving details.

In October, the government-run Tourism Development and Investment Co. delayed the opening of the Louvre and Guggenheim branches and the Zayed National Museum planned for the Saadiyat Island, a US$27 billion project incorporating art, culture and resorts. The Executive Council, chaired by Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, also approved two projects for the redesigning and building of a new national museum and the cultural Hilli site in the city of Al Ain. “After a thorough review, budgets and delivery dates were finalized,” a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

“The government stands solidly behind Abu Dhabi’s projects,” he said, adding “the budgets run into billions of dirhams.”

The council approved several development projects for social services, housing, health and education.

Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, is investing billions of dollars in tourism, infrastructure and industry to diversify its economy away from oil.

Since popular uprisings began in the Arab world last year, Abu Dhabi has announced several housing and social services projects for its citizens.