A number of Russian companies are planning to invest a total of USD 4.6 billion to create an industrial zone near Egypt’s Suez Canal, RT reported.
Russia is set to establish the industrial zone in a two million square meter area in East Port Said, with construction expected to begin in 2018.
The zone will bring together Russian companies such as Kamaz, GAZ, UAZ, Transmashholding, Gazprom Neft and Inter RAO, among others. RT also reported that the design and construction of industrial facilities, as well as the production of various types of equipment, will be carried out by Russian companies.
According to the Russian Trade Ministry, the planned zone will create as many as 77,000 jobs, “while the resident companies can expect revenues to reach $11.6 billion.”
Russia and Egypt have cooperated on a number of economic projects during recent years, including a USD 25 billion loan agreement to finance the construction of a highly anticipated nuclear power plant in Egypt’s north.
In 2014, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi agreed to create a Russian industrial zone in Egypt as part of the implementation of the New Suez Canal megaproject, which was initiated by President Sisi.
Despite Egypt’s economically shaky position and its continuous efforts to fight off terrorism internally and in neighboring countries, both countries consider the growing ties as mutually beneficial. On the one hand, Russia needs to secure its strategic position in the Middle East in the event of its ally Syria falling into rebel hands. And amid increasing international isolation over its involvement in the eastern Ukraine conflict the country needs powerful allies such as Egypt.
Meanwhile, as Egypt has been under increasing international pressure to improve its human rights situation since 2013, Russia has been silent on that issue – a position that Egypt welcomes.