SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt—German industrial giant Siemens agreed to invest US$10.5 billion to build power plants in Egypt that will boost the country’s electricity generation capacity by 33 per cent.
The agreements were the largest single package of new deals signed at an international investment conference that Egypt hopes will spur its sagging economy after four years of unrest following a 2011 uprising.
Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser told The Associated Press that the deals were signed after negotiations with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, “who drove a hard bargain.”
“It will create 1,000 jobs and we’re ready to start as soon as possible,” he said. “We’ve been doing business here for over 110 years so we’ve seen crisis come and go… It’s not about (us) coming and going.”
He said the package included binding agreements worth about $4.6 billion, including a new 4.4-gigawatt power plant in southern Egypt, a project to generate two gigawatts of wind power and a new wind rotor blade factory. The other agreements were memorandums of understanding to build other plants and substations over the coming five years.
Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, faces a power shortage causing rolling blackouts that affect tens of millions of people.
General Electric and Italian petroleum company Eni were among several companies to also announce preliminary agreements. Egypt’s oil ministry said in a statement that the Eni deal was worth an estimated $5 billion and would develop oil and gas resources.