Following an official Egyptian visit to China in end-May, Chinese companies have committed to invest US$3 billion worth of industrial projects in the Suez Canal area.
During his recent visit, according to data aggregator Zawya Projects, Walid Gamal El-Din, chairman of SCZone, secured several investment agreements and commitments from Chinese companies operating in the chemical, textile and apparel, power, pipes, and iron and steel industries.
The primary focus of these deals seems to centre around the Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone (SETC), an industrial estate near Suez. The SETC, which was jointly established by the governments of China and Egypt, aims to attract Chinese companies to establish industries as part of the Belt and Road project.
According to data compiled by Zawya Projects, the list of projects includes a US$2 billion investment plan by Xinxing Ductile Iron Pipes Co for a proposed manufacturing plant for ductile cast iron pipes in the Sokhna Industrial Zone, according to Zawya.
The project's first phase will have an annual production capacity of 250,000 tonnes of ductile iron pipes, which is expected to increase to 500,000 tonnes in the second phase.
In the pipeline are agreements totalling US$310 million with the Shandong Tianyi Company to establish bromine and caustic soda production plants in TEDA Suez. The US$110 million bromine production plant will cover an area of 270,000 square metres (sqm) and have an annual production capacity of 140,000 tonnes.
The caustic soda plant, valued at US$200 million and spanning 300,000 sqm, will produce 500,000 tonnes of raw salt, 300,000 tonnes of soda ash, 270,000 tonnes of chlorine, and 75,000 tonnes of hydrogen annually.
Another project is a US$300 million proposal for an iron production complex spanning 750,000 sqm in SCZONE, which is set to be implemented in two phases.
Other projects, such as an agreement worth US$12 million with Golden Spring Group for a textile project covering 66,000 sqm; agreements worth US$365 million with China-Africa TEDA Investment Co., which involves the construction of a power station and substation capable of handling a power capacity of 200 megawatts (MW), and production of advanced combustion systems were also announced.
Another US$20 million investment pledge was also made by Shanghai-based ShengDa, a manufacturer of apparel, fashion accessories and home textiles, to establish a project for the production of apparel in the Abu Khalifa area, west of the industrial zone in SCZONE.
The Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) spearheaded the construction of the SETC. Initially established in 2008, the TEDA Suez Zone underwent an expansion in 2016 during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Egypt.
During the visit, Gamal El-Dien also met with Song Lee, chairman of the China-Africa Development Fund, to discuss investments in the pharmaceutical, automotive, and green fuel industries, and Song expressed readiness to finance projects involving Chinese investors in SCZONE, including those related to green hydrogen.
Furthermore, notable agreements were reached during the visit. One such agreement involved signing contracts with Chint Global Centre for energy project services and training and with Zhejiang Centre for Commercial and Economic Services for training programs.
Moreover, productive discussions were held with Sany Heavy Industries and Construction Equipment representatives. These discussions aimed to explore potential opportunities for manufacturing equipment, such as electrolysers, for Egypt's green hydrogen sector within the SCZone.