Sisi, Le Maire discuss boosting French investments in Egypt’s AI, green hydrogen projects

Amr Kandil , Monday 28 Mar 2022

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and French Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire discussed on Monday boosting French investments in Egypt’s national projects on artificial intelligence and green hydrogen production.

Egypt s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi holds a meeting with France s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire in Cairo, 28 March 2022. Egyptian Presidency

During a meeting in Cairo, El-Sisi and Le Maire also discussed boosting French investments in Egyptian national projects in transport, electric vehicle manufacturing, infrastructure, communications, digital services and waste recycling, Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement.

Egypt has set its eyes on the green economy and its various industrial applications, such as green hydrogen, which is one of the most important sources of clean energy globally. The country seeks to attract global investors and become a global logistics and economic hub, especially in green hydrogen projects.

In February, Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly reviewed offers submitted by international companies to establish green hydrogen projects in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), as the country seeks to localise the production of clean-burning fuel.

“Le Maire stressed the importance of his current visit to Cairo as a true start for the actual implementation of the mega projects included in the comprehensive financing package signed between the two countries in June 2021,” the spokesman said.

On 13 June, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat signed with Le Maire in Cairo 1.7 billion euros worth of deals to fund projects in the fields of transport, housing, electricity, education, and wholesale markets.

Of that financing, 776 million euros will come from the French government and 990 million euros will come from the French Development Agency (AFD).

PM Madbouly also witnessed on Monday the signing of a finance agreement between Egypt and France to manufacture 55 air-conditioned trains for Cairo Metro Line 1, including maintenance work for eight years.

France’s Alstom Co. will implement the project, which will cost 776.9 million euros, the Egyptian Cabinet said in a statement.

Out of the total value of the project, the Egyptian side will secure EGP 1.183 billion (about 59 million euros).

The repayment period for the loan is 25 years in addition to a 15-year grace period. The interest rate for the loan is 0.0092 percent, with the local component amounting to 13.3 percent.

Addressing the Egyptian-French Business Forum held in Cairo last week in the presence of a number of ministers and senior officials, Prime Minister Madbouly said French investments in Egypt reached 4 billion euros.

Ongoing economic development

Le Maire affirmed to El-Sisi France’s keenness to maximise cooperation with the Egyptian Cabinet in all fields that benefit the ongoing development process in Egypt, especially in light of the country’s economic successes, Rady said.

Le Maire also highlighted Egypt’s pivotal role in consolidating the pillars of security and stability in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean regions.

Egypt and France share a similar vision for achieving stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, including through securing naval routes and rejecting Turkey’s illegal exploration in Greek and Cypriot territorial waters.

Egypt also held several summits and high-level meetings with Greece and Cyprus on enhancing trilateral cooperation and facing regional threats and challenges. The three countries also held several joint military drills, namely MEDUSA, in recent years.

In November, the foreign ministers of Egypt, Greece, Cyprus and France discussed boosting cooperation in various fields including energy, climate change, combating the coronavirus, and migration in a meeting in Athens.

During the meeting, El-Sisi asked that his greetings be conveyed to French President Emmanuel Macron, affirming that cooperation with France represents a priority for Egypt.

The president said Egypt looks forward to boosting French investments in Egypt’s mega national projects.

During a meeting with Macron last month in the French port city of Brest on the sidelines of the One Ocean Summit, El-Sisi stressed that Egypt seeks to increase coordination and consultation with France as the current chair of the European Union on the political, security, military and economic levels.

This should be carried out in a way that helps maintain security and stability in the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Africa, the Egyptian leader said.

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