Calls for new Japanese industrial zones in Egypt, Africa

A cargo vessel container ship passes through Suez Canal, with the Al Salam Bridge behind it. (Shutterstock photo)
Updated 30 August 2019

Calls for new Japanese industrial zones in Egypt, Africa

  • Egypt-Japan ties at an exceptional phase in the history of relations

YOKOHAMA: Plans to establish new industrial zones in Egypt and Africa were on Wednesday unveiled at the opening of a high-profile business meeting in Japan.

Delegates attending the three-day Egyptian-Japanese Business Forum were told of the commercial importance of setting up a zone in the Suez Canal economic area, along with a Japanese bank in Egypt.

The forum, being held on the sidelines of the seventh session of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7), in Yokohama city, was attended by Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of Trade and Industry Dr. Amr Nassar, Japan’s Ambassador to Egypt Masaki Noki, Chairman of the Egyptian Arab Contractors Co. Mohsen Salah, along with Egyptian and Japanese business leaders and investors.

Mohamed Abou El-Enein, vice president of the Egypt-Japan Business Council, stressed that new projects and increased Japanese investment in Egypt would play a major part in further boosting relations between the two countries.

Abou El-Enein said the “great support” received from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indicated the high level of cooperation taking place between the nations.

FASTFACT

Egypt and Africa are seeking to emulate Japan’s experience in 12 countries and its big successes in Cambodia, India and Malaysia.

The business leader pointed out that Japan could reach Africa, Europe and the Middle East via Egypt’s unique geographical location, and he called on Japanese investors to establish an industrial zone in the economic area of the Suez Canal. He also suggested the establishment of a Japanese bank in Egypt.

Egypt and Africa were seeking to emulate Japan’s experience in 12 countries and its big successes in Cambodia, India and Malaysia through the presence of Japanese industrial zones in Africa, Abou El-Enein added.

He said that cooperation between Egypt and Japan was currently at an exceptional phase and that there was huge potential to achieve much more.

Thanking ministers Nasr and Nassar for their support of the Egypt-Japan Business Council and bilateral relations in general, Abou El-Enein added that he was pleased with the expansion of Japanese companies in Egypt.

Egyptian businessman, Ibrahim Al-Araby, said: “The road to development and progress in Africa starts from Egypt as it is the gateway to the continent. We have to utilize tax-free zones and establish a Japanese industrial zone, especially now with the Silk Road stretching across the Middle East.

“Egypt is not only a gateway to 100 million Egyptians but 1.2 billion people in the African market.”


UAE dives into Lake Manzala project

Updated 21 September 2020

UAE dives into Lake Manzala project

  • Egyptian campaign aims to return the lake to its previous state and revive local fishing industry

CAIRO: The UAE National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC) has announced that it won the rights to the expansion project of Lake Manzala in Egypt, valued at 600 million UAE dirhams ($163 million).

The company’s announcement of the new project came following a disclosure published on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange website. It ensures compliance with the principle of disclosure and transparency in force in the UAE.

Lake Manzala is one of Egypt’s largest natural lakes. It is known for its potential fishing opportunities, as it has the basis for high fish stocks due to natural nutrients and a moderate climate throughout the year. It produces about half of the natural fish production in lakes.

The lake has witnessed neglect in recent years, losing much of its importance and wealth. In May 2017 Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi launched a national project to develop Egyptian lakes, with a key focus on Lake Manzala.

NMDC said in a statement that winning the project came through its partnership with the Egyptian-Emirati Challenge Company. It said that it will take about two years to implement the project.

NMDC is one of the leading companies in the field of dredging, land reclamation and civil and marine construction in the Middle East. The Lake Manzala development project aims to improve the quality of water to restore free fishing and return the lake to its previous state, which will boost the local market and export output.

President El-Sisi said that Lake Manzala will contribute to enhancing Egypt’s fishing industry, and export operations will be activated after its full development. He directed the border governorates, in coordination with the Ministry of Interior and the Armed Forces, to remove all encroachments and criminal outposts on the lake.

Several days ago, Dakahlia governorate completed a difficult operation to remove encroachments on the lake. A large campaign that used Armed Forces Engineering Authority equipment removed 301 houses in the Abdo El-Salhy area in El-Matareya city, known as the “fishermen’s land,” which was built on areas that were filled in from the lake. The operation occurred after local fishermen were persuaded to obtain compensation for vacating their houses.

Magdy Zaher, executive director of Manzala Lake, said that the engineering authority used 320 excavators and 20 imported suction dredgers to work in the lake.

The authority dredged the upper islands isolated from the water with the help of an Emirati bulldozing company to increase the efficiency and purification of Lake Manzala.

Zaher said the lake project will require several steps.

The most important is the removal of encroachments on the water surface and doubling its area to 250,000 feddans, he said. Dredging and deepening the lake, opening the gates and extending the radial channels to allow Mediterranean waters to enter the lake will follow, he added.

A safety belt will come in the form of a road 80 km long and 30 meters wide, which will surround the lake and prevent future encroachments. It will also divert the course of the Bahr El-Baqar water treatment plant, which pours 12 million cubic meters of sanitary, industrial and agricultural drainage into the lake, Zaher said.