Egypt’s Suez Canal is pivotal to Belt and Road Initiative
Egypt’s Suez Canal is set to be a significant part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), bieng the only maritime connection between Africa and Asia on the one hand and Europe on the other hand.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said In his speech at the BRI Summit in China Friday that the goals of the initiative correspond to the efforts deployed by Egypt to launch a number of mega projects having high ROI and offering diverse investment opportunities.
The president also stated that on top of those projects is the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCzone) that is an industrial, trade, and logistics center.
The president explained that SCzone provides “promising opportunities” for Chinese companies, other member states of the initiative, and all countries worldwide opting for benefits of Egypt’s strategic location. The chief of state added that SCzone can be a center for the production and re-export of goods to the entire world, particularly to the Arab, African and European states linked with Egypt via free trade agreements.
The Belt and Road Initiative was launched by the Chinese government to enhance trade, investments, and infrastructure in more than 150 countries in Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. The initiative is a revival to what was known as “The Silk Road.”
Vice-chairman of the SCzone Mahfouz Marzouk told CGTN in a TV interview last year that the Suez Canal has a basket of currencies that now includes yuan transactions which will create balance in international markets. Yuan is currently used in vessels and shipping services only but there are studies to use it in other sectors in the future since Egypt seeks different sources of hard currency.
TEDA Chinese Industrial city received 13.5 square kilometers southern the canal in 2015. Chinese investors finished the infrastructure, and established 65 logistic entities and 33 industrial entities including Jushi, the largest fiberglass factory in the world. The size of Chinese investments in the zone is $1 billion, and there is a deal signed for a new factory worth $800 million, Marzouk revealed.