President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi during a meeting with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Cairo, 25 July 2014 (Photo courtesy of Egypt's presidency)
Egypt will witness the establishment of several development projects following the inauguration of the new Suez Canal 6 August, according to a presidency statement quoting President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi Saturday, following his meeting with French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Cairo earlier in the day.
The new national projects aim at compensating Egyptians in long-missed development, El-Sisi said during the meeting.
Egypt received last Monday three Dassault Aviation-built Rafale fighters from France in a ceremony at a French military base, the first batch of 24 warplanes acquired by Cairo in a 5.2 billion Euro ($5.6 billion) deal in February.
Egypt was the first country to buy the Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation after months of failed attempts by successive French governments to sell them. The fighter plane is scheduled to take part in the opening ceremony of Egypt’s new Suez Canal 6 August.
The new Suez Canal project aims to add a new shipping lane to the existing canal that links the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, and to develop the zone around it into an industrial and commercial hub.
The upgraded canal is expected to speed up traffic along the waterway and to boost its revenues, projected to more than double from $5.3 billion at the end of 2015 to $13.2 billion in 2023, according to official estimates.
Earlier Saturday, Egypt began the first trial of the new Suez Canal, with three container ships navigating through the channel, state news agency MENA reported.