CAIRO, May 29 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry said on Saturday that he approved a plan to establish an EGP 820 million (around $92 million) industrial zone in the province of South Sinai.
Tarek Kabil said during a conference on development and investments in South Sinai, held in the province, that that the area’s mineral resources will be utilised in the project.
A vocational school will be established in the area, as well as low-priced social housing units to house workers, he added.
Arab loans and grants
Investment Minister Dalia Khorshid, who was also present at the conference, said that her ministry aims to attract Egyptian and foreign investment into the Sinai Peninsula and also establish “national projects” in the border area in the coming period.
“We obtained loans and grants from Arab development funds… We are working on four aspects, including roads, infrastructure, water, sewage and desalination plants,” she added.
Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation announced in January that aid provided by Arab entities for a development project in Sinai, which the government started to implement in 2015, reached $6 billion.
The project aims to reclaim and cultivate 620,000 acres, create new urban communities, and link Sinai to the more populous Delta area.
The two neighbouring provinces of North and South Sinai have witnessed a string of militant attacks since the military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, following mass protests against his rule.
This wave of insurgency has been typically concentrated in North Sinai but it has also spread to the south, and it even crawled into other parts of the country, including the capital.
South Sinai is known for its tourist resorts, such as Sharm el-Sheikh, but Egypt’s tourism industry, which was already negatively affected by the aftermath of the 2011 Uprising, has been particularly hit hard after the crash of a Russian plane above Sinai prompted Moscow to suspend all flights to Egypt pending an investigation into the crash. Britain also halted flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh.
Egypt’s most active militant group in North Sinai, the ISIS-affiliated Sinai Province, claimed responsibility for downing the plane.