Egypt's Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) Chairman Yehia Zaki (L) speaks during an interview with Xinhua in Suez, Egypt, on Oct. 7, 2019. Chinese companies have been pioneering the development of the Egypt's Suez Canal Economic Zone, while further contracts with giant Chinese companies of heavy industries are expected to be announced soon, the newly-appointed chairman of the SCZone told Xinhua in an interview on Monday. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomma)
by Mahmoud Fouly
SUEZ, Egypt, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Chinese companies have been pioneering the development of the Egypt's Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone), while further contracts with giant Chinese companies of heavy industries are expected to be announced soon, the newly-appointed chairman of the SCZone told Xinhua in an interview on Monday.
"China's TEDA and other Chinese companies in the southern part of the SCZone played a pioneering role in the development of this region, which we greatly appreciate," SCZone Chairman Yehia Zaki said, referring to Chinese industrial developer Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA).
TEDA is currently developing a total area of more than 7 square km in the SCZone in Ain Sokhna district of Suez province, east of the Egyptian capital Cairo.
Zaki preferred not to mention the new agreements with Chinese companies until negotiations are over and contracts are signed.
"There're current negotiations with the Chinese side on the development of another area in Ain Sokhna and negotiations with some giant Chinese companies working in steel and other heavy industries to operate in the SCZone," the Egyptian official told Xinhua at the SCZone headquarters in Ain Sokhna.
The SCZone statistics say that TEDA's first development phase of an area of 1.34 square km attracted about 68 enterprises with investments of one billion U.S. dollars, providing more than 3,700 job opportunities for Egyptian youth.
Meanwhile, the ongoing second phase that targets the development of 6 square km is expected to attract 150 companies to the SCZone and provide about 40,000 job opportunities.
Zaki noted that the first thing he did when recently appointed as the new SCZone chief was that he signed an agreement with the Chinese side to open a training center to improve and qualify Egyptian labors here in the zone.
Egypt's deep-rooted ties with China have been elevated to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership, and the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, which targets common development via win-win partnerships, has been contributing to Egypt's development through massive infrastructure projects in various fields including construction, energy, transport, trade and industry.
The SCZone chief described the relations between Egypt and China as "distinguished," expressing his belief that they will result in further large and significant joint projects to contribute to the development of the SCZone.
"There are promising investment opportunities in the SCZone and a growing desire of Chinese companies to invest here and be present at the Egyptian market," the Egyptian official told Xinhua.
With regards to regional and international developments, whether politically or economically, Zaki said that "regional changes and international factors did not negatively affect the SCZone that has even become more investment-magnet."