World’s largest solar plant opening
THE LARGEST solar power plant in the world, located in Benban in Aswan, will soon open, according to sources from the New and Renewable Energy Authority, an affiliate of the Ministry of Electricity.
The construction of the solar power plant was completed in October and is now connected to the national electricity grid. The Benban solar region of Aswan houses 40 solar power plants, the largest number of power plants in a single area in the world. The project is built, owned and operated by a private company, with government support.
Egypt’s electricity sector wants 20 per cent of the capacity of the country’s national electricity grid to be generated from renewable energy resources by 2022. That percentage is scheduled to reach 42 per cent by 2035.
Naval drills with Russia
EGYPTIAN and Russian naval forces on Saturday concluded the Friendship Bridge 2019, a joint naval drill in the Mediterranean Sea. Several naval units, frigates, rocket launchers, auxiliary supply ships and divisions of special naval forces from both sides participated.
The drill displays the efficiency and skill of participating forces in planning, managing and controlling naval units along with tackling various threats. High-ranking navy officers from both sides were present during the final stage of the drill.
Egypt and Russia have been stepping up military cooperation in recent years.
TRANSPORT Minister Kamel Al-Wazir on Saturday inaugurated a maritime transport line between Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh.
Wazir boarded the Queen Nefertiti ferry from Sharm El-Sheikh to Hurghada on a two-and-a-half hour cruise.
The launch of the shipping line is part of the Transport Ministry’s efforts to encourage tourism programmes and to diversify tourism products, Wazir said. Queen Nefertiti is scheduled to make regular weekly trips that will help facilitate visits by tourists to Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, Marsa Alam, St Catherine, Dahab, El Gouna and Taba.
The shipping line is also planning to transport workers, cars and goods.
Sawiris gets Thomas Cook subsidiary
AFTER the liquidation of the giant tour operator and travel company Thomas Cook in September, Raiffeisen Touristik (RT) Group, owned by Egyptian billionaire Sameh Sawiris, acquired the German subsidiary.
The German subsidiary faced insolvency immediately after UK-based Thomas Cook announced its bankruptcy three months ago.
News of acquiring the German subsidiary was announced in a press release by Orascom Development Egypt, headed by Sawiris. The purchase required the transfer of hundreds of travel agencies in Germany to RT.
Sawiris is one of the leading tourism and travel businessmen in Germany.
His shares in RT are estimated at 74.9 per cent and the travel company’s annual sales reach 3.5 billion euros. RT includes the Otto Resland brand, Thomas Cook Netherlands and 700 other private travel agencies. Sawiris was ranked 26 in Africa’s 50 richest list.
Orascom Development, based in Egypt, currently owns hotels in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Switzerland with plans of expanding in Montenegro and Morocco.
Sawiris has made significant contributions to reviving the tourism industry around the globe. In Egypt, he is credited with founding El Gouna, a luxurious resort town near Hurghada. El Gouna has 20,000 residents, 18 hotels and a football stadium.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 12 December, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.