Photo credit: PIB
Egypt is considering creating a special area within the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCEZ) for Indian industries and wants to expand cooperation in renewable energy, specifically green hydrogen. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi made a pitch to captains of Indian industry during his state visit to Delhi in January. His visit comes two months after the Indian firm ReNew Power signed a framework agreement with Egyptian authorities to develop a US$8bn green hydrogen plant in the SCEZ - a 461km special economic zone located next to the Suez Canal that offers a favourable environment for investors. The project has a total capacity of 220,000 tonnes per year, starting with a pilot phase producing 20,000 tonnes annually followed by phase I to increase production to 200,000 tonnes. ReNew Power plans to conduct further studies, with a final investment decision expected within the next 16 months
Egypt aims to establish the SCEZ as a hub for the manufacture of green hydrogen and other clean fuels for both the export market and bunkering (the supply of fuel for use by ships). Hydrogen – made by splitting water molecules with electrolysis – is a clean energy source and a potential alternative to fossil fuels. Hydrogen is considered ‘green’ if the energy used to manufacture it comes from renewable sources such as solar, wind and geothermal. Egypt is regarded an attractive market for green hydrogen production thanks to its abundance of renewable energy resources, established industrial sector, developed infrastructure and proximity to European markets.
In addition to green energy projects, President Sisi is seeking Indian investments in sectors such as infrastructure, petrochemicals, agriculture, healthcare, education, and IT. During his visit to New Delhi he attended a business event where he delivered a keynote address and met captains of Indian industry – among them the controversial billionaire Gautam Adani, whose eponymously named coal-to-infrastructure conglomerate, has recently come under the scanner for market manipulation and debt overload.
Bilateral trade between the India and Egypt has crossed US$7bn but the two countries want to ramp this up to US$12bn within the next five years. in the 2021-22 fiscal year. Indian investments in Egypt currently stand at more than US$3.15bn.
President Sisi, who was in New Delhi to attend the Indian Republic Day parade, held wide ranging talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and members of his cabinet. They discussed opportunities for cooperation in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and even space where India has the capability of launching satellites.
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