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Thursday, 19 August 2021

SFE lining up USD 2.5 bn in private-sector investment for desalination plants

SMART POLICY- The Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE) is looking to do with desalination what Egypt did last decade with electricity and natural gas as it seeks private-sector partners to build and run 17 new desalination plants at an aggregate cost of about USD 2.5 bn. The news comes as “the country tries to tackle looming water scarcity,” Mirette Magdy writes for Bloomberg.

What’s new here? Back in August of 2019, the government outlined a plan to build some 39 desalination plants at a cost of perhaps EGP 30 bn. Some 16 of the facilities were initially to be on the fast track and set to come online in 2020 — but that was before covid-19 hit. The Bloomberg story quotes SFE boss Ayman Soliman as saying Egypt will look to use renewable energy to power the 17 plants for which it is lining up investment. The SFE is aiming to take a minority stake in each of the 17 plants, explaining “Egypt is keen to build a sustainable technology base to control its destiny when it comes to water security.”

How much capacity are we talking about here? Soliman said the plants will produce a combined 2.8 mn cubic meters of water per day by 2025 — part of a plan to add capacity of 6.4 mn cubic meters a day by 2050.

Dive deeper into Egypt’s plan to ensure water security in Hardhat.

Advisors: EBRD and the IFC will give technical support and advise on the bidding, Bloomberg reports, noting that Soliman suggested “several investors” have already expressed interest in the plants.

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