August 22, 2019 / 10:44 AM / 2 months ago

Egypt raises Sinai investment by 75% in 2019-20

CAIRO, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Egypt said on Thursday it would invest 5.23 billion Egyptian pounds ($315 million) in the Sinai Peninsula in fiscal 2019-20, a 75% rise on the year, in a venture officials say is intended to stabilise a region hit by violence from armed groups.

The Planning Ministry, which directed 2.986 billion pounds in investments to Sinai in the 2018-19 fiscal year, said in response to a Reuters question that the 2019-20 investments would be “general investments directed to all sectors”.

Egypt has been fighting an insurgency led by Islamic State and concentrated in the peninsula’s north since the military overthrew President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in mid-2013 after mass protests against his rule.

The government hopes investing in the region will help curb extremism and bring stability by reducing higher-than-average unemployment.

North Sinai will receive 2.85 billion pounds of the investments, while South Sinai will take 2.38 billion pounds, Planning Minister Hala al-Saeed said in a statement.

“The investments in North Sinai are in education, water, agriculture, irrigation, transport, storage, real estate activities and construction projects,” Saeed said.

South Sinai investments will be “in the agriculture, irrigation, transport, education and other services sectors,” she said.

An aide to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said last year that the Sinai development plan is expected to cost 275 billion Egyptian pounds and be completed by 2022, calling it “a project for national security”.

$1 = 16.6050 Egyptian pounds Reporting by Ehab Farouk; Writing by Yousef Saba, Editing by William Maclean

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