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Saudi businessmen propose Egypt infrastructure investments | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A picture taken on May 28, 2013 shows the Blue Nile in Guba, Ethiopia, during its diversion ceremony. (AFP Photo/William Lloyd George)


A picture taken on May 28, 2013 shows the Blue Nile in Guba, Ethiopia, during its diversion ceremony. AFP PHOTO / WILLIAM LLOYD GEORGE

A picture taken on May 28, 2013 shows the Blue Nile in Guba, Ethiopia, during its diversion ceremony. (AFP PHOTO/WILLIAM LLOYD GEORGE)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—A spokesman for the Egyptian Council of Ministers has revealed that a number of Saudi businessmen have offered to invest in infrastructure projects in Egypt, including electricity generating stations and water desalination plants.

Alaa El-Hadidi said the businessmen held a meeting with Prime Minister Hisham Qandil on Tuesday, where they discussed possible Saudi investment in Egyptian power stations and water desalination plants.

Egypt is currently suffering from constant disruption of electricity supplies to homes and factories, due to an increase in consumption and a lack of fuel needed by electricity generating stations. Disruption is also caused by the delay in new stations becoming operational, and the failure of functioning stations.

Egypt is facing a worsening power crisis, particularly following Ethiopia’s announcement that it intends to build a giant dam, diverting a portion of the waters of the Blue Nile. The Great Renaissance Dam may affect Egypt’s share of Nile water, in addition to the amount of electricity being generated by the Aswan High Dam in southern Egypt. The Ethiopian plan has prompted Egypt to work quickly to find alternatives to compensate for the potential losses in water supply from the Nile. One of the alternatives suggested is to desalinate sea water.

Saudi businessmen have investments in 16 companies in Egypt, totaling approximately USD 7.2 million.

Abdulrahman Mahfouz, president of the Saudi–Egyptian business council, revealed that work was underway to remove obstacles which were causing delays in some projects, mostly the result of government bureaucracy.

Mahfouz said: “The ministers have promised to solve the problem, but as soon as the issue reaches central administration, they tell us about laws and other issues which relate to the past.”

In another development, the political unrest in Egypt has continued to affect the financial market while the Egyptian stock exchange has suffered a loss for the fourth consecutive quarter. The stock exchange has reached its lowest ebb for two months, recording a loss of approximately USD 2.6 billion.

Analysts have predicted that the performance of Egypt’s financial market will continue to be poor ahead of June 30, when a large anti-government demonstration is due to be held. The demonstration will call for a vote of no confidence in Mohammad Mursi’s government.