Egypt And China Expand Economic Partnership
Egypt and China made billions worth of energy and infrastructure deals during al-Sisi's recent visit to Beijing, another sign of growing economic and political ties between the two countries.
CAIRO — Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's second trip to China in less than a year came during his weeklong tour of Asia in early September, a trip aimed at expanding economic cooperation with countries in the region. And that he did, especially with China.
During the Beijing meetings, Egypt approved a package that includes the equivalent of $6.3 billion in deals — for energy projects, small business loans and a memorandum of understanding for the construction of Egypt's new capital city.
The energy cooperation includes a $2 billion project in which the Chinese company Sinohydro would build a 2,100-megawatt hydropower dam near Egypt's Mount Ataka, a project that was announced in March.
In addition, Chinese companies signed a deal to build a $3.8 billion, 4,000-megawatt coal-fired power plant, according to the state-owned news outlet Al-Ahram. Plans for Chinese companies to build coal-power stations in Egypt were first announced during Sisi's previous state visit to China in December 2014.
Al-Ahram also reported that Chinese companies would be involved in a $600 million project to develop an electricity network to transfer power from new power plants being constructed by German firm Siemens, as well as to transmit electricity from the proposed nuclear power plant at Dabaa. China will finance 85% of the project, to be repaid over 15 years with a proposed 2.5% interest rate.
On the infrastructure side, Egypt's investment minister signed a memorandum of understanding with the mammoth state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation to develop part of Egypt's new administrative capital. The project, called The Capital Cairo, was announced at the Egypt Economic Development Conference held in Sharm el-Sheikh in March. It was presented as a $45 billion project to build a 700-square-kilometer city from scratch in the desert.
Emirati firm Capital City Partners had signed a memorandum of understanding to construct the project, but talks reportedly broke down in June, leaving Egypt searching for a new partner.
Sisi also presided over the signing of a $100 million soft loan from the China Development Bank to support small- and medium-sized enterprises in Egypt.