Egypt at the forefront of energy revolution and is on path to energy security: UK Minister

Ahram Online , Sunday 31 Oct 2021

The United Kingdom’s Minister for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly said that what Egypt has achieved in the energy field is revolutionary and has put Cairo on the path to achieving energy security.

UK Minister for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly

This also means that Egypt has many successful stories to tell during its participation in the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 26, Cleverly — who made his first visit to Cairo in mid-October — told Al-Ahram Daily newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi arrived on Sunday afternoon in Scotland to participate in the COP 26 summit slated for Monday and Tuesday in Glasgow under the chairmanship of the UK.

Cleverly expressed his country’s pleasure that El-Sisi will attend the summit, saying that “Prime Minister Johnson will be very happy, as he takes the climate issue very seriously.”

“We also have positive indications towards Egypt’s positions on the climate issue and environment in general,” he noted, adding that his country is already cooperating with Egypt in multiple energy and renewable energy projects.

“I am confident that the climate issue is one of the most prominent fields in which we will closely cooperate for a better future for both Egypt and the UK,” he added.

Egypt has advanced from 26th place in 2020 to the 20th among the world’s top 40 markets in the Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index for 2021.

Under its 2030 vision, Egypt plans to increase the supply of electricity generated from renewable sources to 20 percent by 2022 and up to 42 percent by 2035, with wind providing 14 percent, hydropower 2 percent, photovoltaic 22 percent, and concentrated solar power 3 percent by 2035.

Additionally, Cairo is working on a host of projects to preserve the environment by making use of the country’s plentiful natural gas production. The boom in the North African country’s gas production has been supported by huge gas discoveries and production in the Mediterranean.

Including the Go Green initiative, Egypt has been exerting constant efforts to create and develop an environment-friendly industry by localising modern industrial technologies and creating professional technical cadres to fight pollution and reduce harmful emissions.

Cleverly said that the UK is also interested in investing in renewables, referring to the newly signed deal between the UK’s Globeleq and the Egyptian government’s Benban Solar Energy Park.

On 14 October, the British independent power producer Globeleq announced the acquisition of the ARC for Renewable Energy Plant at the Benban Solar Park near Aswan, Egypt.

Cleverly confirmed that the UK is interested in investing in the energy field in Egypt after the Benban deal, adding that “Egypt is doing well in the field of energy, and it has a huge and promising future.”

“We have a business sector and companies that are very enthusiastic to work in energy.”

During his visit to Cairo, Cleverly held talks with a number of Egyptian ministers and officials, including Egyptian Transportation Minister Kamel El-Wazir.

The British minister said that he discussed with El-Wazir investments opportunities in the transport sector’s infrastructure in Egypt.

Transportation projects are so important for Egypt due to its jammed streets, Cleverly said.

“I wandered across Cairo’s streets; It was so crowded. It is a huge challenge, and we have the same issue in London,” he added.

“I also saw the development in the roads here [in Cairo], and I also saw several modes of transportation,” he said, stressing that the UK is very keen to continue to cooperate with Egypt in developing the transportation sector.

Cleverly also discussed the decade-old dispute caused by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), a controversial hydropower project that Addis Ababa is building on the Blue Nile, stressing that the UK understands the importance of the Nile to Egypt.

“It is an existential matter,” he said.

Moreover, he expressed his wish that Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia reach a deal through the negotiations.

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