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Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Optimism outweighs concerns over SCZone – FT special report

A lack of labor appears to be among the concerns investors have on the successof the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), according to the Financial Times. In its piece exploring plans to turn the Suez Canal into an industrial hub, the salmon-colored newspaper said that apart from Port Said, the region’s biggest city, canal zone towns have small populations, with transportation to the strategic area also being rough. “It is no good building a factory then transporting people to work in it,” said Arafa Holding chairman Alaa Arafa. The project must also make sure that managers of the SCZone are alert to the concerns of investors, said Wael Ziada, head of investment firm Zilla Capital, who believes that it is these types of conflicts that hold back major macroeconomic projects.

On the whole, the piece sings an optimistic tune about the SCZone, paying particular notice to how the zone had been made an independent entity to avoid the pitfalls of Egypt’s bureaucracy, which has stymied investments. The story mentions some of the key expansions including the USD 15 bn in projects to be built on 23 mn sqm, which has attracted the likes of Siemens, General Electric, as well as industrial developers ASEC-Capital alliance.

The piece is part of a special report by the FT headlined New Trade Routes: The Arab World (landing page here). The most interesting pieces are US and China offer new Middle East trade potential and DP World hitches lift on the new Silk Road.

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