Egypt's General Authority of the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) yesterday signed an initial partnership agreement with the UAE-based port operator DP World to develop the planned economic zone near the Suez Canal, the Anadolu Agency reported.
The joint contract is a prelude to the final agreement which will be signed between the two sides "upon the completion of all procedures".
The partnership aims to establish a joint development company between the SCZone Authority and DP World to implement a sustainable and integrated economic zone in Egypt's north-eastern port, including a free industrial zone and other development projects.
The new company will be 51 per cent owned by the General SCZone Authority, which was founded in 2015 to administer and manage the development project, while the other 49 per cent will be owned by DP World.
Under the agreement, DP World will carry out the development of 95,000 square kilometres in Egypt's north-eastern area of Ain Sokhna at the southern end of the Suez Canal. The project also includes the construction of a 75 kilometre industrial area and a 20 kilometre residential area which will accommodate 650,000 people.
The SC Zone project is set to provide some 500,000 job opportunities.
The partnership, which was signed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was first announced on 9 August following talks between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, SCZone Authority Chairman Mohab Mamish, and DP World's Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem.
Following the signing of the agreement, Mamish said the agreement will be a "leap" in the Egyptian economy.
"The joint venture will allow a developmental, economic and industrial renaissance that achieves the joint goals for the two countries [Egypt and the UAE]," he noted.
Sulayem said that the project aims to transform the SCZone into a global integrated industrial zone that serves the objectives of sustainable development in Egypt.
We are confident that the Egyptian government will overcome all the current economic and social obstacles … we will work with Egypt to make this project a success.
Sulayem noted that project also aims at transforming the SCZone into an extension to the UAE's Jebel Ali Free Zone, benefiting from the network of international companies currently present there.
DP World is one of the world's largest port operators. It operates around 78 seaports in 40 countries around the globe.
The Suez Canal is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia. It is one of Egypt's key sources of foreign currency, bringing in about $5 billion a year.