News / Middle East

Egypt Awards Suez Project to Group Including Army

Egypt's army troops cross the Suez Canal to work on an upgrading project to guard Ismailia, a port city northeast of Cairo, Aug. 12, 2014.
Egypt's army troops cross the Suez Canal to work on an upgrading project to guard Ismailia, a port city northeast of Cairo, Aug. 12, 2014.
Reuters

Egypt's Suez Canal Authority announced on Tuesday that a Bahrain-registered firm is to develop a huge industrial and logistics hub around the canal, but gave no details of the project itself.

The Egyptian army is a local partner in Dar Al-Handasah Egypt through the Armed Forces Engineering Authority, army and government sources have told Reuters.

A plan to develop the canal was announced under former President Mohamed Morsi last year but opponents accused him of attempting to sell public land to foreigners and the project was shelved for many months. The army ousted Morsi in July last year following mass protests.

The head of the Suez Canal Authority, Lieutenant General Mohab Memish, announced the winning consortium alongside Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab at a news conference in the city of Ismailia, a city on the banks of the canal.

"The winning consortium to create the master plan for the Suez Canal area development project is the consortium of Dar Al-Handasah Shair and Partners, which is registered in Bahrain, in alliance with Dar al-Handasah Egypt," Memish said.

He gave no further details about how much the project is likely to cost or which industries the plan would focus on. The Suez Canal Authority was not immediately available for comment.

Earlier this month, President and former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi announced a multi-billion dollar national project to expand the Suez Canal by building a new canal alongside it.

It was not immediately clear in what way the two projects might be linked.

Sissi has said he would not hesitate to award to the army major projects that would help revive Egypt's economy.

The military - whose budget is not made public - has accrued a business empire ranging from bottled water to tablet computers and is seen by many Egyptians as more efficient than the government.

The Suez Canal is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia and brings in around $5 billion in revenues per year, a vital source of hard currency for Egypt which has struggled since a 2011 uprising deterred tourists and foreign investors.

In January, Egypt invited 14 consortia to bid for the development of 76,000 square kilometers (29,000 square miles) around the canal. Thirteen of the 14 consortia, which included Australia's WorleyParsons, consulting firm McKinsey & Co and Japan's Oriental Consultants, submitted bids.

“Wait and see”

The government says it wants to attract both local and foreign investors for the Suez Canal area development project which it has hailed as a way of turning Egypt into a major trading hub through the expansion of shipping facilities.

But investors are likely to wait until more concrete plans have been announced before pouring in money.

"It is an important project... If it is well planned and well designed it is achievable," said Mohamed Abou Basha, an economist at Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes.

"The idea has been there for many years but never been implemented or seriously considered... We have to wait to see how they are going to design the zone, which industries are they planning to attract and what benefits they will give investors," Abou Basha said.

The Sinai peninsula, which lies the eastern side of the canal, has seen a rise in violence from Islamist militants in recent months, prompting the government to launch an ongoing military campaign in which hundreds have died on both sides.

Egypt's Gulf Arab allies support the Egyptian military and have given billions of dollars in aid to the country since the army ousted Morsi last year.

Dar Al-Handasah says on its website that its 6,900 employees offer services in planning, design, management and supervision and that it has finished building projects across the Middle East, Africa and India.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

Nigerians Await New President With High Hopes

When pomp and circumstance of inauguration end in Abuja, Buhari will sit down to the hard task of governing Nigeria More

India's Restrictions on Several NGOs Raise Concerns

Political analysts link recent clampdown on advocacy groups to report last year that said foreign-funded NGO’s negatively impact economic development More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Nihal El-Sayed from: Singapore
August 21, 2014 7:45 AM
This article makes it sound like Morsi was ousted because of the canal plan and so Sisi is also implicated in the allegations, this is misleading. Also, the tone of the article towards the Egyptian army is not fair – there are many countries where the army plays a significant role in the country and Egypt happens to be one of them. Western media is quick to judge and jump to conclusions!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs