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Thursday, 2 May 2019

USD 3 bn in Chinese financing for Egypt as El Sisi deepens ties with China at Belt and Road Forum in Beijing

USD 3 bn in fresh financing for Egypt as El Sisi deepens ties with China at Belt and Road Forum in Beijing: A series of new financing, manufacturing, and communications agreements were signed last week between Egyptian and Chinese companies as President Abdel Fattah El Sisi joined the three-day Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. El Sisi used the forum to draw international attention to the country’s economic reform program and highlighted Egypt’s drive to become a regional energy hub, according to an Ittihadiya statement. He also called on participating countries and investors to provide favorable funding terms to African countries. You can read the president’s speech in full here.

Egypt has closed some USD 3 bn in Chinese financing for the new capital’s central business district, Housing Minister Assem El Gazar announced during the event, according to Youm7. The New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) lined up the facility from a group of lenders led by state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. The first USD 834 mn tranche will be used to finance construction during the initial 600k sqm phase of the district, which includes two administrative and five residential skyscrapers. Our friends at Arab Legal Consultants were counsel to NUCA on the transaction. China State Construction Engineering Company (CSCEC), the main contractor NUCA hired to develop the district, was previously reported to have budgeted USD 3 bn to complete the site. We noted last year that 85% of CSCEC’s expenditure will be financed by Chinese banks, with the balance set to be local finance.

Electric bus and clothing manufacturing agreements: The Military Production Ministry inked an agreement with Beijing-based automotive company Foton Motor to manufacture 2,000 electric buses in Egypt over the next four years, according to a ministry statement. The vehicles will be assembled by a production plant owned by the Egyptian military; 45% of the components will be sourced in Egypt. The Trade Ministry also announced that Hong Kong-based global clothing manufacturer Handa is planning to set up a readymade garment and fabric dye factory in Egypt.

Telecom Egypt signed two MoUs with Chinese tech giant Huawei to develop Egypt’s mobile internet infrastructure, Al Mal reported. One agreement will see the two companies experiment with high-speed fiber optic internet while the second confirms Huawei’s plans to equip Cairo International Stadium with 5G connectivity during this year’s African Cup of Nations. TE also signed a USD 45 mn landing agreement for the 12k km Pakistan, East Africa and Europe for Connecting International Networks internet cable cross Egypt, the company said in a statement.

Meetings with world leaders: The three-day forum saw El Sisi meet with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, UAE Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed as well as Portuguese President Marcelo de Souza and Swiss President Ueli Maurer.

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