Egypt and Russia sign 50-year industrial zone agreement

CAIRO, May 23 (Reuters) - Egypt and Russia signed a 50-year agreement on Wednesday to build a sprawling industrial zone that Egypt hopes will attract up to $7 billion in investments.

The 5.25 million square metre (57 million square foot) industrial zone will be located east of Port Said in the new Suez Canal Economic Zone, a mega project launched 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 construction of the first phase of the Russian industrial zone is expected to cost around $190 million, according to a statement from Egypt’s trade ministry announcing the signing of the agreement.

The statement said the new industrial zone could attract up to $7 billion in investments, but did not say how the figure was calculated.

Total trade between Egypt and Russia in 2017 amounted to $6.7 billion, state news agency MENA reported in February, with Cairo’s exports to Moscow reaching $505 million.

Egypt is on a drive to lure back investors who fled following the 2011 uprising with a slew of economic reforms and incentives the government hopes will draw fresh capital and kickstart growth. (Reporting by Ehab Farouk and Ali Abdelaty, Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Adrian Croft)