Egypt signs MoU with Chinese firm to expand production of electric vehicles

An employee works on the automobile assembly line of electric city cars. (Reuters)
Updated 12 September 2019

Egypt signs MoU with Chinese firm to expand production of electric vehicles

  • The Egyptian Minister of Public Business Sector Hesham Tawfik toured factories in China to see some of the latest advances in electric-vehicle manufacturing

CAIRO: Egypt is motoring ahead with ambitious plans to expand its production of eco-friendly electric vehicles.
Government officials are closing in on securing cooperation agreements with a number of major car manufacturers, in the wake of a recently signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Chinese automotive group to make electric buses, trucks and taxis.
As part of the country’s drive toward investing in renewable energy projects, the Egyptian Minister of Public Business Sector Hesham Tawfik toured factories in China to see some of the latest advances in electric-vehicle manufacturing.
And separately, Egypt’s Minister of State for Military Production Mohamed El-Assar attended a ceremony to ink an MoU between his ministry’s National Organization for Military Production and China’s Geely Auto group to produce battery-powered vehicles. During his visit to China, Tawfik was given a guided tour of the Dongfeng motor company’s factories in Wuhan.
According to a ministerial statement, he was shown the various stages of testing for battery efficiency in extreme hot and cold weather and was told how the technology could be applied to suit road and climatic conditions unique to Egypt and other parts of the world.
Tawfik also toured production lines, the company’s state-of-the-art laboratories, its battery plant, and assembly facilities. A number of vehicles that could be put together in Egypt were tested too.
The minister listened to a presentation from Dongfeng officials about the company’s range of models, including military, business and passenger vehicles.
During a meeting with the firm’s CEO and top managers, Tawfik and his delegation discussed possible cooperation on the production of electric vehicles in Egypt through state-owned automobile companies.

Meanwhile, the signing of the MoU with Geely forms part of the Egyptian Ministry of Military Production’s plans to localize the technology of manufacturing electric vehicles in its affiliated companies, in line with state strategy to expand the use of electric transport to benefit the environment and economy.
It follows on from an agreement this year between the ministry’s armored-vehicle production and repair operation and the Chinese Foton Motor Co. to manufacture 2,000 electric buses over four years. The deal was signed during Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s visit to China in April on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum.
Abdel Monem El-Qady, vice chairman of the Chamber of Engineering Industries, part of the Federation of Egyptian Industries, told Arab News that Egypt was adopting a strong approach toward the manufacture of electric vehicles to replace those run by fuel.
He said electric buses and other vehicles were already operating in Alexandria and that the country was developing a plan to step up its existing vehicle production capacity after putting in place the necessary infrastructure.
El-Qady added that the eco-friendly nature of electric vehicles would help to reduce environmental pollution in Egyptian cities such as the capital Cairo.


Lebanese block roads as protests enter fourth month

Updated 17 January 2020

Lebanese block roads as protests enter fourth month

  • The protest movement rocking Lebanon since October 17
  • The protest movement is in part fueled by the worst economic crisis

BEIRUT: Protesters blocked several main roads across Lebanon on Friday as unprecedented demonstrations against a political elite accused of corruption and incompetence entered their fourth month.
The protest movement rocking Lebanon since October 17 has resurged this week, over delays in forming a new cabinet to address the country’s growing economic crisis.
No progress seemed to have been made on a final lineup, which protesters demand be made up solely of independent experts and empty of traditional political parties.
In central Beirut, dozens of protesters Friday stood between parked cars blocking a key thoroughfare linking the city’s east and west.
“We blocked the road with cars because it’s something they can’t move,” Marwan Karam said.
The protester condemned what he regarded as efforts to form yet another government representing the usual carve-up of power between the traditional parties.
“We don’t want a government of masked political figures,” the 30-year-old told AFP. “Any such government will fall. We won’t give it any chance in the street.”
Forming a new cabinet is often a drawn-out process in Lebanon, where a complex system seeks to maintain balance between the various political parties and a multitude of religious confessions.
Nearby, Carlos Yammine, 32, said he did not want yet another “cake-sharing government.”
“What we have asked for from the start of the movement is a reduced, transitional, emergency government of independents,” he said, leaning against his car.


Elsewhere, demonstrators closed roads including in Lebanon’s second city of Tripoli, though some were later reopened, the National News Agency said.
The protest movement is in part fueled by the worst economic crisis that Lebanon has witnessed since its 1975-1990 civil war.
The protests this week saw angry demonstrators attack banks following the imposition of sharp curbs on cash withdrawals to stem a liquidity crisis.
On Thursday night, protesters vandalized three more banks in the capital’s Hamra district, smashing their glass fronts and graffitiing ATMs, an AFP photographer said.
Earlier, Lebanon’s security services released most of the 100-plus protesters detained over the previous 48 hours, lawyers said.
Human Rights Watch on Friday condemned the arrests and the response of security forces to protests outside a police station on Wednesday night demanding detainees be released.
“The unacceptable level of violence against overwhelmingly peaceful protesters on January 15 calls for a swift independent and transparent investigation,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at the rights watchdog.
Over the past few months, the Lebanese pound — long pegged to the US dollar at 1,507 — has fallen in value on the unofficial market to around 2,500.
The World Bank has warned that the poverty rate in Lebanon could rise from a third to a half if the political crisis is not remedied fast.