The Egyptian government yesterday announced an agreement between the country's Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and Dubai Ports (DP) World, under which the latter will acquire 49 per cent of the canal's economic zone projects.
"DP World will sign a partnership agreement with SCA to acquire 49 per cent of the canal's economic zone development project," the Egyptian cabinet's spokesperson said.
On Tuesday, the Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli stated that DP will implement projects in the northwestern area of the Suez Gulf, as part of the company's current "extensive" investment in the region.
SCA's chairman Mohab Mameish recently said that DP's investments were "an indication of the success of the Suez Canal development project."
Experts say that the recent agreement comes in the framework of DP's efforts to control the ports of the African continent given its geopolitical importance and its role in dominating the movement of the global trade.
DP's branch in Egypt's Ain Sokhna port – one of the largest and most important ports on the Red Sea – was established after a $670 contract was signed in 2008. Under the contract terms, DP owns 90 per cent of the Sokhna Port Development company. The agreement stipulated that DP would expand the port's capacity to 2 million containers per year and invest around $1.5 billion in Egypt within five years.
Egypt has been seeking foreign investment for the Suez Canal Economic Zone, which is expected to include an international logistics hub and areas for light, medium and heavy industry, as well as commercial and residential developments.
The government has been implementing an economic reform programme to close budget deficits and streamline investment laws, in an attempt to improve the investment environment. In November 2016, the government floated the Egyptian pound to push its value closer to real market level.