CAIRO – 30 June 2017: Three years ago, Egypt was going through an economic turmoil affected by a recession in the tourism and investment sectors, which are the main sources of the hard currency.
The ailing economic condition prompted then-new president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to think of new sources of revenue to help reducing the growing budget deficit, which recorded 12 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2013\2014.
Sisi launched a number of national projects of which some has started operating, while the others are underway.
Two months after taking office, President al-Sisi launched in August 2014 an $8.2 billion project to dig a new extension to the Suez Canal, to expand its capacity to 97 ships per day. The project is expected to bring the canal’s revenues to $13.5 billion by 2023, up from annual revenue of $5.5 billion by 2014.
The original canal had the capacity to handle all ships except for the giant oil tankers, which was addressed by the new extension.
Expecting to attract more ships to bypass through the canal, the new project, started operations in August 2015, reduced the sailing period for ships by 10 days, allowing two-way traffic.
Suez Canal - File Photo
Suez Canal Economic Zone
Aiming to have a business and trade hub, President Sisi adopted the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) project, under which traders and investors would be given tax and business incentives, preferential treatment and support services.
Under this project, the Suez Canal area will be converted into an economic authority and will work as single-window in completing all the investors’ procedures away from all ruling legislations of economic activity in Egypt.
Among the incentives offered to investors are a 10 percent unified income tax and access to skilled labor in manufacturing sectors at competitive costs.
Economic Zone - File Photo
A New Capital
Located 45 kilometers in the eastern of Cairo, President Sisi announced in 2015 the building of a new city, which he described as a new administrative and financial capital of Egypt.
The New Capital, which is currently being developed by the New Administrative Capital for Urban Development, is planned to include residential districts, educational institutions, hospitals, 40,000 hotel rooms, a theme park, solar plants and a new international airport.
Land plots in the new capital have already been launched for investors and developers, who are interested in participating in the mega project.
Participating developers until now are the Arab Contractors Company, Concord for Engineering and Contracting Company and Talaat Moustafa Group Holding Company.
New Administrative Capital - File Photo
Three giant power plants
At the eventful Egypt Economic Development Conference in March 2015, major international companies and financial institutions pledged support for Egypt including Germany’s Siemens, which later an € 8 billion contract to build three 4,800MW combined cycle gas-fired plants in Egypt, each with eight units.
The projects, located in Ain Sokhna, Burullus and the New Administrative Capital, are being implemented on an EPC + Finance basis.
Elsewedy is the main contractor on the Beni Suef power plant, while Orascom is working on the Burullus and New Capital projects.
Power Plant - File Photo
As the agriculture sector accounts for 17 percent of Egypt’s GDP, the agriculture sector had a share in the array of adopted national projects. Sisi launched in December 2015 a project to reclaim 1.5 million feddans of agriculture land.
The project included digging over 5,000 water wells at a total cost of LE 6 billion to secure water for the project, which is expected to be done on stages.
Egyptian Agriculture via Wikimedia/Marc Ryckaert
National project for roads
The project aims to develop 4,800 kilometers of road, which will shape 20.4 percent of the total road network in Egypt.
With a total cost of LE 36 billion, the project would build 39 new roads on two phases, in addition to providing maintenance works for 214 bridges with the cost of LE 500 million.
National Roads Network - File Photo
Fish farming project
Taking into account developing Egypt’s exports of fish surplus, al-Sisi launched in December 2015 the fish farming project in Ismailia, aiming as well to meet Egypt’s consumption of fish, which stands at 700,000 tons annually.
The project encompasses 4,000 fish tanks, 12 fishing ships and upgrading Egypt’s fishing fleet.
Fish Farming - File Photo