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

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.