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Suez Canal region on radar of Indian investors as PM Modi begins maiden Egypt visit today

Given its strategic location, Egypt has an ambitious plan to transform the country into a global logistical and commercial centre through mega industrial and logistical zones (Image courtesy: Suez Canal Economic Zone)

Egypt will pitch the development axis of the Suez Canal region, which includes a number of industrial and logistical zones, as a major investment opportunity for Indian companies during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to Cairo starting Saturday.

A delegation led by the Chairman of the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZONE) Waleid Gamal Eldien was in New Delhi earlier this week holding discussions on India-Egypt economic engagement, especially potential investment opportunities in diverse areas like renewable energy, green hydrogen and infrastructure.

The touring party met Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan and called on Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Tuesday evening.

Given its strategic location, Egypt has an ambitious plan to transform the country into a global logistical and commercial centre by linking the Red and Mediterranean seas through mega industrial and logistical zones.

Located around the main international maritime route of the Suez Canal passageway, which connects Europe, East and North Africa via the Suez Canal with Asia passing through the Arabian Gulf serving the majority of global trade, SCZONE aims to be one of the main logistics hubs in the region.

The government led by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has been quite gung-ho to open investments from Indian companies, especially in the field of green hydrogen production in Ain Sokhna located in the Gulf of Suez, north-west of the Red Sea.

During his India visit in January earlier this year, Sisi told a gathering of leading Indian businessmen that the Suez Canal region provides promising opportunities for companies wishing to benefit from Egypt’s strategic location as a centre for the production and re-export of products to various countries of the world, especially in the Arab and African regions.

“Our visions agreed to maximize the existing cooperation in various fields and move towards partnerships in new fields, including cooperation in the field of new and renewable energy and the production of green hydrogen,” the Egyptian President said in his speech after the bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January during which the India-Egypt relationship was elevated to Strategic Partnership.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in New Delhi this January (File image courtesy: PIB)

While there has been no government-to-government agreement or MOU on green hydrogen so far, Indian private companies have entered into major projects in Egypt.

Last year, SCZONE signed an MoU with Indian energy group ACME to set up green hydrogen and ammonia production facilities in an area of 4.5 million square meters in Sokhna with a total production volume amounting to 2.2 million tonnes annually.

Overall, more than 50 Indian companies have invested around USD 3.15 billion in diverse sectors of the Egyptian economy, including chemicals, energy, textile, garment, agri-business, retail, etc.

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Meanwhile, ahead of PM Modi’s first visit to Egypt, the delegation led by SCZONE Chairman Waleid Gamal Eldien held extensive meetings in New Delhi with various Indian ministries and major companies operating in the sectors of new energy, iron, steel, and infrastructure.

Spotlighting the importance of cooperation between Indian companies and the economic zone in light of the close economic and trade relations between the two countries, Walid Gamal El-Din continues to emphasise the “great support and confirmation” of the political leadership of the two countries in strengthening partnership and also working to increase Indian investments in Egypt.

Also Read: How PM Modi’s visit to Cairo would add weight to India’s Global South Initiative