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Tuesday, 4 September 2018

China State Construction inks USD 9.6 bn worth of agreements with Egypt

INVESTMENT WATCH- More from China as CSCEC signs USD 9.6 bn in new agreements: China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) signed USD 9.6 bn in new agreements with Egypt in the latest round of contracts signed during the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in Beijing, according to Reuters’ Arabic Service. CSCEC, which is already handling a chunk of the construction on the new capital, signed a USD 3.5 bn contract for an unspecified development. We believe this is the USD 3.5 bn contract to build the second phase of the new capital’s business district. The company also inked a USD 6.1 bn agreement to build a refinery at the Suez Canal Economic Zone. Initial estimates had put the refinery’s total cost at USD 7.1 bn.

Hamrawein power plant contract signed: It has now also been confirmed that a consortium that includes our friends Hassan Allam Construction signed the EPC contracts for the USD 4.4 bn Hamrawein “clean coal” power plant, Xinhua reports. The consortium is led by Shanghai Electric and Dongfang Electric.

Activist group ponders just how clean the plant is: Despite assurances from Dongfang Electric chairman Zou Lei on how “clean” the plant will be, critics of China’s environment record are questioning whether such a project jives with China’s green commitment. “These mega projects highlight a growing gap between China’s vision of South-South climate cooperation, which prioritises clean energy projects, and its actual investments across the African continent, which still include coal and hydropower projects that pose serious environmental risks,” writes Lili Pike in China Dialogue.

Wait — there’s more roz on the bowl: China’s President Xi Jinping pledged USD 60 bn in fresh loans to African countries at the forum and wrote off some debt owed by poorer African nations, Reuters reports. This will include USD 15 bn of aid, interest-free loans and concessional loans, a credit line of USD 20 bn, a USD 10 bn special fund for China-Africa development, and a USD 5 bn special fund for imports from Africa, according to the newswire. “Chinese companies will be encouraged to invest no less than USD 10 bn in the continent in the next three years,” he said. He also cast off accusations that the funding is part of a “debt trap” conspiracy. Xi had pledged a USD 20 bn package to the Arab World back in July, with Egypt having been engaged in talks to secure USD 1.2 bn of that funding.

The caveat of this latest pledge: The funding would not be given to “vanity projects,” Xi said at the forum.

El-Sisi’s Africa engagement drive continues on conference sidelines: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir in Beijing on the sidelines of the forum, according to an Ittihadiya statement. The two discussed across-the-board cooperation and developments in South Sudan peace process.

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