By Arab News
By Rashid Hassan
The total volume of Saudi investments in Egypt will soar with the multibillion-dollar deals expected during Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman’s ongoing historic visit to Cairo, which came at the invitation of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
During the visit, the Kingdom is expected to sign a $20 billion agreement to finance Egypt’s petroleum needs for the next five years and a $1.5 billion deal to develop the Sinai region.
Moreover, Saudi businessmen are investing $4 billion in various projects including further expansion of the new Suez Canal project, in the fields of energy and agriculture.
“Ten percent of the above investment is already deposited in Egyptian banks and they will complete 25 percent within three months,” a senior official of the Saudi-Egyptian Business Council said ahead of the visit on Tuesday.
Earlier, a leading Riyadh-based planning, design, management and supervision consultancy was awarded a major contract for a parallel canal in Suez, a second passage which will join an expanded Suez Canal for better trade which will have a transformative impact on the Egyptian economy.
Dar Al-Handasah was selected among 14 bidders and will work with a prime contractor and the Egyptian Army to develop industry and logistics in the canal area.
This new Suez Canal project will be a giant engine for the Egyptian economy that will give it a strong thrust to potentially end an economic slowdown in the Egyptian market as it is expected to more than double Suez revenues from $5.3 billion, estimated at the end of 2015, to $13.2 billion in 2023, according to official estimates.
Dubbed the “Suez Canal Axis,” the new 72-km project is aimed at speeding up traffic along the existing waterway by reducing the waiting period of vessels, as well as boosting revenues for Egypt.
The Suez Canal, an artificial waterway in Egypt extending from Port Said to Suez, connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, made the country a passageway for one-tenth of world’s trade with continuous revenues at hardly any cost.
Originally built 146 years ago, the Suez Canal is one of the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes and has been a key source of international trade.
Together, these multibillion projects aided by the Kingdom will help further bolster deep-rooted Saudi-Egypt ties as it will pave the way for infrastructure development in the country and will favorably create a large number of jobs that will improve unemployment figures.