The Egyptian government announces a plan to build a new Suez Canal, parallel to the existing 145-year-old passage connecting the Mediterranean and Red Seas.
With the cost of the project estimated at $4 billion, the 72km stretch is intended to extend the congested Suez port, in a bid to raise Egypt’s international profile as a major trade hub.
Considering Egypt’s tourist industry is still recovering from the hit it faced following the overthrow of President Mubarak in 2011, and the decline in Western aid as a result of the political turmoil thereafter, the $5 billion in annual revenue from Suez has become a vast source of capital for Egypt’s economy.
The canal has also been achieving record-growth throughout 2014, with an increase in profits in H1 by 5.5 per cent and its highest revenue since 1869.
Regional instabilities across the Mena region have underlined Egypt’s need to further cement its grip on the Suez Canal. Having already faced invasion by Israel in 1973 throughout the Yom Kippur War, the authorities are well aware that Suez is an invaluable asset which ought to be utilised and protected to its full potential. Moreover, any disruptions to the waterway can, as they have in the past, cause profound effects on global trade and oil prices.
Speaking from the port town of Ismailia, President Sisi confronted these security fears to say that the Egyptian army would oversee the project, considering “Sinai to a large degree has a sensitive status”
Aside from modernising and expanding Egypt’s battered infrastructure, the new canal will establish new tourist and agricultural opportunities, whilst creating 2 million jobs.
Thursday, August 7- 2014 @ 15:34 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.