Egypt’s plethora of mega projects provide limitless potentials amidst ongoing challenges
The British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) has organised last week a breakfast briefing on the plethora of mega projects in Egypt amidst the ongoing challenges and opportunities.
Four high-profile Egyptian officials participated in the briefing, namely Khaled Abbas, chairman and managing director of Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD); Sherif Hamouda, chairman of GV Group – developer of Tarboul Industrial City; Ibrahim Mustafa, deputy minister and vice chairman of the General Authority for the Economic Zone of the Suez Canal (SCZone); and Ahmed Sherin, Vice President of the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI). Karim Helal, president of Concord International Investment, was the moderator of the briefing.
When tackling the challenges surrounding the Egyptian economy, the four panelists have stressed the importance of realising the difference between the real obstacles and some perceptions from west financial rating agencies, which contributed to paint unreal picture about the current situation.
Nevertheless, the officials also emphasised that Egypt enjoys a plethora of great opportunities and potentials for localisation of industries, promoting the ongoing megaprojects besides the industrial and the economic zones that are among the prominent developmental measures taken by the country to enhance investment and stimulate the economy.
In his opening remarks, Khaled Nosseir, BEBA chairman, welcomed the esteemed guests, notably Ambassador of the Republic of South Korea to Egypt, Kim Young-hyun; Ambassador of Singapore to Egypt, Dominic Goh; and Talaat El Sewedy, Head of Energy and Environment Committee at the Egyptian Parliament.
Karim Helal started the talk with optimistic outlook about the Egyptian economy’s ability to come out of the ongoing geopolitical, economic local, regional and international challenges with the help of the government initiatives, reforms, plans, new legislations, and joint massive projects. Among these challenges are the huge population growth, the unemployment, and job creation that entails ways to best provide productive jobs for the youth.
The New Administrative Capital: A Dream that came true
For his part, Khaled Abbas said the New Capital has been “a dream that came true” in only six years, started from scratch in 2017 through a team been working on the planning of a new capital.
In 2022, ACUD posted pre-tax profits of 20 billion Egyptian pounds in 2022, Abbas said, referring to the company’s targets to reach 26 billion pounds by the end of the current year.
He expected ACUD’s profits will continue to grow more by next year propelled by the start of working on the second phase of 40,000 new feddans in the second quarter of 2024.
A Green, Sustainable, Smart City
ACUD has three major pillars, Abbas said. First, to be a green, the new capital is enveloped by expansive green environs, combining modern buildings, state-of-art facilities and green spaces, creating a perfect balance between urban life and nature.
Second, to be sustainable, Abbas talked about a central command centre that will manage the city, connecting IoT-based applications and use algorithms and artificial intelligence in order to maximise efficiency and minimise waste. Third, to be smart, the city is developed with the strategic vision for a smart city integrating its smart infrastructure to offer many services to both citizens and investors.
Abbas also referred that the masterplan and design for the Central Park of the New Administrative Capital has attained the Middle East Landscape Sustainability Award 2023 in the Parks and Recreation category. The award ceremony took place in Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. on November 15 and was hosted by Landscape Magazine in association with the International Federation of Landscape Architects Middle East (IFLA Middle East) and Saudi Society of Landscape Architectures (SSLA).
Abbas further said that building a new smart metropolis was based on a vision, to provide a quality-of- life place for citizens and investors, adding that the transportation there is now perfect with 100,000 state employees being moved already.
When asked about ACUD’s plans to float some shares of its subsidiaries, Abbas answered that there are still a number of scenarios understudy. ACUD plans first to initiate a number of subsidiaries in sectors of education, water, and waste management, followed by restructuring them until ACUD’s management makes a final decision.
The new capital is being represented as a model in local and international events, he said, referring to ongoing discussions with four of the best consultants in the world to work on the second and third phases of the city.
Abbas concluded his talk by saying that works on ACUD’s anticipated industrial zone will start next year.
Tarboul: Egypt’s First Smart Green Industrial City
Meanwhile, Sherif Hamouda talked about Tarboul’s visions to be a business model of a livable smart green city. Hamouda referred to Tarboul’s distinguished location, spanning over 109 million sqm in Giza, and being located 70 km from New Cairo, 77 km from 6th of October City, and 10 km from Sokhna port. The city is also distinguished by its closeness to the main road network, including the Cairo – Assiut Road, the Regional Ring Road, Cairo Sokhna Road, Fayoum – October Road, and Al Karimat – Zafarana Road.
Tarboul City adopts the philosophy of recycling, reuse, and reduction to reduce waste production and reach to achieve the stage of non-production of any waste.
Tarboul’s key partners include Orange and TAQA in addition to a leading insurance partner that draws out insurance programmes for various sectors, including the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and megaprojects.
Localisation is the Key
Hamouda emphasised on the importance of starting localisation of industries. In the past, it was easy to import but now people realised the importance of localising of various industries. Tarboul will have around 3,000 factories in versatile industries and several service hubs, including a food valley, a technology and electronics valley, a marble building materials city, a textiles and handicrafts city, a plastics and chemicals hub, as well as a complex for light industries. To date, there are 18 factories in the city, he added.
Tarboul is also expected to have a dry port, a university area, a research and training centre, a handicrafts training centre, and a warehousing and refrigeration area.
Its residential and housing complexes are expected to offer different models, from freestanding homes to flats of different sizes and designs.
Tarboul also includes an area on which industrial investors can build major industrial complexes on plots varying from 500,000 to 2 million sqm or for SMEs to build on plots from 500 to 20,000 sqm.
The city is a firm supporter for SMEs, Hamouda reiterated, saying it adopts the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) SME programme among other initiatives.
GV Investments has created a new initiative, called Sanaa’ (manufacture in Arabic), designed to support the national industry and increase its contribution to the GDP. The initiative is set to offer several ready-made industrial complexes for SME projects in Tarboul City, through a 0 percent down payment plan spanning 10 years, in collaboration with the CBE.
To date, around 10 million sqm have been completed in the city, Hamouda said, adding that more details would be disclosed next June.
SCZone, Mega Plans, Investments for Better Future
Talking about the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), Ibrahim Mustafa referred to the recent accomplishments. He said the SCZone has approved 43 major projects in the industrial zones, with $4.6 billion worth of investments, in the past fifteen months. The Authority has a list of target industrial sectors to focus on in the upcoming period, among of which is the green hydrogen that comes as the utmost priority for the SCZone, Mustafa added.
GAFI: Egypt is ‘a Land of Opportunities’
Meanwhile, Ahmed Sherin said GAFI is supporting and motivating the private sector to play a bigger role and lead the Egyptian market.
“Egypt is a land of opportunities.” Sherin said, explaining that the ongoing challenges are only related to the local elements but also to global geopolitical, economic incidents.
The Egyptian government is exerting strenuous efforts to create a “real” and “clear” investment opportunities and GAFI is working around the clock to solve any investment obstacles.