CAIRO, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Egypt expects to sign an agreement with Russia by year-end to build a sprawling industrial zone that it hopes will attract more than $7 billion in investments, a statement from the Egyptian trade ministry said on Tuesday.
Egypt is on a drive to lure back investors who fled following its 2011 political uprising with a slew of economic reforms and incentives the government hopes will draw fresh capital and kickstart growth.
The 5 million-square meter industrial zone will be located east of Port Said in the new Suez Canal Economic Zone, a mega project initiated by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The plan aims to create an international hub for manufacturers with easy access for exporting goods to African and European markets.
The project will cost $190 million to build, said a trade ministry statement released on Tuesday following a meeting with Russian officials in Cairo earlier in the day.
Russia’s Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Georgy Kalamanov said his government has finished drafting the “executive work plan” for the project, the statement said.
Trade between Egypt and Russia rose to about $2.5 billion in the first seven months of the current year from about $2.2 billion in the same period a year earlier, the statement said.
Egypt’s exports to Russia reached $387.9 million in the first seven months of the year compared with $304.6 million in the same period last year, a 27.3 percent increase, it added.
Total Russian investments in the Egyptian market are valued at about $62.8 million across 417 projects in various fields, the statement said. (Reporting by Arwa Gaballa; Editing by Catherine Evans)