The World Bank has announced its strong backing for Egypt's recently-launched Suez Canal mega project, pledging its advisory assistance.
Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahleb held a press conference on Tuesday to announce Gulf-based international engineering firm Dar Al-Handasah and its partner as the winning consortium in a bid for the right to draw up the plans for the mega project in the coming months.
"We are very pleased to join forces with the Suez Canal Authority to provide technical advisory services in support of the development of a strategy and master plan for such a mega project, the Suez Canal Regional Development Project," Hartwig Schafer, the World Bank's Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti, told the conference attendees on Tuesday.
The plan includes creating an industrial hub beside the international waterway and a centre for supplies and logistics.
According to Suez Canal Authority Chairman Mohab Mamish, the government plans to finance the project through a mixture of domestic and foreign private and public investments, including private investors, bank loans and international aid.
Schafer added that the project will "change the economic landscape of Egypt," most importantly by encouraging "the Egyptian and foreign private sector to invest in the project, leading to the creation of sustainable job opportunities for brilliant and energetic Egyptian youth."
The World Bank's commitment to Egypt currently includes 25 projects for a total of US$4.9 billion as well as 43 trust fund grants worth US$190.2 million in the sectors of energy, transport, water and sanitation, agriculture, irrigation, health and education.
The bank has advised on similar projects, notably in China and Mexico.