France’s Hollande inks $2.3bn euro deals with Egypt

The French government confirmed Monday that contracts had been signed for the French companies Airbus Space Systems and Thales Alenia Space to build a military telecommunications satellite for Egypt’s defense ministry.

The statement said the total monetary worth of deals concluded during Hollande’s visit was more than two billion euros ($2.3 billion). The Reuters news agency reported that the satellite deal alone was valued at approximately 600 million euros.

“After discussions between French and Egyptian presidents and between the Ministers of Defense, the contract on a communication satellite with Egypt is signed,” said the Elysee Palace.

Egypt is looking forward to a partnership with French corporations on major national projects such as the Suez Canal Development, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said on Monday during the opening of a Franco-Egyptian economic forum attended by President Francois Hollande.

“We are working seriously to provide all foreign investors with a more attractive environment within the government’s inclusive development vision until 2030,” al-Sisi said.

During the televised opening of the forum, al-Sisi reiterated the importance of the economic partnership with France.

The EU state is Egypt’s ninth largest trading partner, with a total traded volume worth 2.6 million euros and total investments worth 4.3 billion euros in 2015. Hollande arrived Sunday on a three-day visit to Cairo, accompanied by a large delegation of French businessmen.

The two presidents have so far signed a number of financial deals worth more than 1.5 billion euros, as well as memorandums of understandings in the fields of transport, energy, renewable energy, gas and tourism.

However, according to a statement released by the Egyptian presidency late on Sunday, the Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr has signed financial agreements with the Agence Francaise de Développement (AFD) worth a total of more than 300 million euros, including the following:

– A 50 million euro senior loan to finance a wind power station in the Gulf of Suez with a capacity of 200 megawatts
– A 50 million euro senior loan to improve the Egyptian electricity control centre
– A 70 million euro loan (guaranteed by a grant from EU) to supply natural gas to Egypt’s slums
– A 80 million euro “contribution” to renovate 1 km of the third line of Cairo’s metro (from Ramsis to Heliopolis)
– A 60 million euro loan to establish a water treatment unit in Alexandria

The two presidents also witnessed the signing of a trade agreement worth 1.2 billion euros between the Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels and the French joint venture for construction Vinci and Bouygues to build 17km of phase 3 of the Cairo’s metro under-construction third line.

AFD will contribute 300 million euros and the European Investment Bank will contribute 600 million euros to the project, the statement reads.

Another trade accord worth 250 million euros was signed between the electricity ministry and GE Grid Solutions company to support the National electricity distribution network.

(The current exchange rate stands at 1 Euro = $1.13, according to the latest data from Bloomberg.)

source:Deutsche Welle, Ahram ONLINE

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