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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs