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.


Libya airport hit by drone and rocket fire; 2 Haftar troops killed

Updated 15 September 2019

Libya airport hit by drone and rocket fire; 2 Haftar troops killed

  • LNA has been battling since early April to seize Tripoli from GNA forces

TRIPOLI: An airport near the Libyan capital was hit by a new round of rocket fire and airstrikes, the Tripoli-based government said on Saturday, two weeks after it was closed due to repeated attacks.

Separately, two commanders of the Libya National Army (LNA) were killed in a drone strike while trying to capture the capital Tripoli.

The drone strike took place in the town of Tarhouna, southeast of Tripoli. The town has been the main base of the LNA since it lost Gharyan town south of Tripoli.

The Tripoli government and LNA both confirmed that two Tarhouna-based commanders — Mohsen Al-Kani, head of the Kaniyat armed group, and Abdelwahab Al-Magri, head of the 9th brigade — died in the strike. A brother of Kani was also killed.

Both armed groups had teamed up with the LNA whose forces control the east with the help of a parallel government and were key to the Tripoli campaign, analysts said.

The Government of National Accord (GNA) accused forces loyal to eastern-based strongman Khalifa Haftar of being behind Saturday’s attacks on Mitiga airport, but did not report any casualties.

BACKGROUND

The Tripoli government and LNA both confirmed that two Tarhouna-based commanders — Mohsen Al-Kani, head of the Kaniyat armed group, and Abdelwahab Al-Magri, head of the 9th brigade — died in the strike.

A drone airstrike hit the airport early on Saturday morning, followed by “Grad rockets launched by (pro-Haftar) militia,” the GNA said on Facebook.

The former military air base had been Tripoli’s sole functioning airport until a rocket attack on Sept. 1 wounded four civilians including three pilgrims returning from Makkah in Saudi Arabia, the latest in a string of similar incidents.

Authorities responded by diverting flights to Misrata, 200 km to the east, until further notice.

The LNA has been battling since early April to seize the capital from pro-GNA forces.

The two sides have since become embroiled in a stalemate in the capital’s southern outskirts.

Haftar’s forces, which accuse the GNA of using Mitiga for military purposes, say they are targeting “Turkish drones” being launched from the airport to attack their troops in southern Tripoli.

The GNA’s Interior Ministry has identified at least 11 attacks on Mitiga since June 21, not including Saturday’s incident.

The Tripoli-based GNA called Saturday’s attack a “desperate attempt” at revenge for losses sustained the previous day.

Since April, the fighting around Tripoli has killed at least 1,093 people and wounded 5,752, while some 120,000 others have been displaced, according to the World Health Organization.