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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More