Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Thursday inaugurate the phase of a Siemens megaproject to build three new power plants in Egypt, the German ambassador said.
The first phase of the project to bolster the country’s power capacity was completed in January, according to the Siemens website, with 4.8 gigawatts of power connected to the national grid.
Ambassador Julius Georg Luy said on Tuesday that Merkel and El-Sisi will inaugurate the first stage of the project’s new power plants in Beni Suef, Burullus and the new administrative capital through a video conference.
Speaking at a press conference in Cairo, Luy said Merkel will arrive in the city on Thursday for a two-day visit, the first since 2007.
In 2015, German conglomerate Siemens signed an €8 billion ($9 billion) deal with the Egyptian government to build three combined-cycle power plants and 12 wind power installations at a capacity of 16.4 gigawatts.
The project aims to boost Egypt’s power generation capacity by around 50 percent by completion in May 2018.
The delegation accompanying Merkel will include CEOs of major German companies who hope to discuss investment opportunities with El-Sisi.
“The project is a commercial agreement where Egypt will bear the cost,” Luy said about the Siemens deal, adding that Germany was providing facilities of payment.
In January, electricity ministry spokesman Ayman Hamza said that work on the Siemens megaproject was moving on schedule, adding that Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker is closely following up on the construction process at the three plants.
'Investors need reassurance'
“Germany is indeed interested in investing in Egypt, but the German investor will still have questions of assurances in the sector,” the ambassador said.
German investments in Egypt are estimated to total €1.5 billion, according to the ambassador, and to provide around 22,000 jobs.
Luy said that his country was waiting for the investment law to be approved so it can be presented to the investors.
“We don’t want old problems to occur again, where the investor can’t repatriate his profits,” the ambassador said.
He also hailed the Egyptian government’s ongoing economic reform programme and the country’s liberalisation of the pound last November, describing the step as “bold and courageous.”
“There is another aspect. The negative consequences of such decisions represented in the inflation of goods’ prices,” added the German ambassador.