Egypt and UK ministers launch new association council in London

The UK’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and her Egyptian counterpart have signed a joint statement of intent to reform renewable energy regulations at the launch in London of a new platform to develop strategic partnerships. 

The “platform for co-operation”, built on an agreement signed by the nations in December 2020, was created this week at the inaugural meeting of the UK-Egypt Association Council. 

Ms Truss and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry took the opportunity to explore prospects for enhanced economic co-operation between the countries and agreed to increase bilateral trade and investment. 

The two also discussed several matters of mutual concern, including the food crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine and the hosting of Cop27 in Sharm El Sheikh in November. 

Describing the meeting as "fruitful" in a statement released by both ministers, they welcomed a number of successful commercial collaborations, including: the two-line Cairo Monorail project featuring trains manufactured in Derby, central England, and supported by UK Export Finance; the purchase by the Egyptian Navy of two ex-Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships; investment of $80 million for the opening of a 66-megawatt solar farm by Globeleq; and the launch of commercial operations at the Lekela wind farm in northern Egypt with a joint fund of $325m. 

Ms Truss and Mr Shoukry pledged to work towards improving market access across a number of industries and sectors, and to tackle any barriers impeding trade and the sharing of expertise. 

The UK and Egypt emphasised their commitment to strengthening bilateral co-operation and investment in health care and education, given both fields’ direct effect on levelling-up, job creation and enhancing the quality of public services. 

A “new phase” of technical collaboration between the UK’s National Health Service and Egypt’s healthcare system are among the projects in the pipeline, the statement said 

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Egypt, Brazil To Boost Trade In Textile And Other Sectors

Egypt is actively engaged with Brazil to boost biliteral trade in various sectors including textiles. The free trade agreement (FTA) between Egypt and the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay), which entered into force in 2017, plays a pivotal role in promoting trade between Egypt and Brazil. Exports have jumped 3 times since the FTA. 

There are distinguished investment opportunities for the Brazilian business community in the Egyptian market in the areas of the manufacture of textile, spare parts, pharmaceuticals, engineering, along with new and renewable energy, Egyptian minister of trade and industry Nevine Gamea said at an event of Arab-Brazilian Economic Forum, which she attended virtually. 

The FTA between Egypt and Mercosur countries contributed to increasing the competitiveness of Egyptian exports and enhancing its access not only to Brazil but to all Mercosur countries, given that the Brazilian market remains a focal point in the penetration and marketing of goods to neighbouring countries, the minister added. 

After the FTA entered into force, Egyptian exports to Brazil increased over three times from $155 million in 2017 to $541 million in 2021, as agreement provided access to many strategic goods at competitive prices. 

The FTA also encouraged export of Egyptian apparel and home textile products to Brazil. Egypt’s apparel exports to Brazil were just $0.944 million in 2017, which increased to $2.281 million in 2020 and $2.249 million in 2021, according to Fibre2Fashion’s market insight tool TexPro. 

In home textiles, Egypt’s exports to Brazil were valued at $1.158 million in 2017, which increased to $3.507 million in 2020 and $9.223 million in 2021, as per TexPro. 

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70 locally produced electric buses to run in Cairo from October

As part of its climate policy, the Egyptian government will put 70 electric buses on the road in the governorate of Cairo. These locally manufactured vehicles will serve the population while contributing to the fight against air pollution in the country of the pharaohs.  

On the eve of the 27th United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP27), which Egypt will host in November 2022, the country of the pharaohs is working to promote green mobility. In this context, the Ministry of State for Military Production and the Ministry of Local Development have signed an agreement for the acquisition of 70 electric buses that will be used in Cairo from October 2022. 

At a total cost of 323 million Egyptian pounds (more than $17 million), these electric buses called “Setibus” are produced locally in the factory of the Egyptian manufacturer Manufacturing Commercial Vehicles (MCV) based in Salheya, in the governorate of Ach-Sharqiya. With a maximum speed of 70 km/h, the “Setibus” can carry up to 73 passengers, or 49 seats. According to the Egyptian authorities, the electric bus is equipped with automatic air conditioning and an intelligent system for internet services. 

Towards more sustainable transport 

The acquisition of these new vehicles contributes to the reduction of pollution in Egypt. The Egyptian government plans to accelerate the construction of electric car charging stations.  “It’s about promoting local industrialisation in the field of modern transport using natural gas and electricity,” says Mahmoud Shaarawy. According to the Egyptian Minister of Local Development, some of the 70 electric buses ordered will also be deployed in the seaside city of Sharm-el-Sheikh for the duration of COP27. 

Earlier in April 2022, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) provided the government of Egypt with a €250 million loan under its Green Cities programme. The funding will be used to upgrade and electrify a railway line between the port city of Alexandria and the city of Abu Qir in the north-east of the country. 

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Egypt’s Instabug raises $46m Series B to build expand product capabilities

Egyptian startup Instabug, a mobile monitoring, crash and bug reporting solution for mobile teams, has raised US$46 million in Series B funding to add to its product and build what it says will be the first mobile observability and performance monitoring platform.

Founded in 2016, Instabug helps developers better understand the performance of their mobile applications, and its impact on user experience. The company’s robust platform scales with any sized business, allowing independent developers and enterprises alike to seamlessly monitor, alert, prioritise and debug during critical phases of the application life cycle.

Its US$46 million Series B round was led by global software investor Insight Partners, with participation from existing investor Accel as well as new investors Forgepoint Capital and Endeavor. The capital raise follows record growth in 2021, in which Instabug reached more than 2.7 billion mobile devices, processed 110 billion mobile sessions and 4.2 billion issues, and saw substantial increase in year-on-year bookings, adding enterprise leaders like DoorDash, Verizon, IHG, ABInveb, Porsche, Qualtrics and Gojek to its customer base.

With the new funding, Instabug will continue to aggressively execute on its mission of serving engineering teams with performance metrics and issue visibility, and product teams with customer insights and direct user feedback. By adding to its existing proactive issue detection, advanced debugging and alert management capabilities, Instabug says it is building the first mobile observability and performance monitoring platform.

“Mobile applications and our interactions with them have been evolving for almost 15 years, but only in the past few have these interactions become the primary way we interface with brands and services all around us,” said Omar Gabr, CEO and co-founder of Instabug. “Leaders in industries spanning banking, transportation, retail, and education have realised mobile applications are the primary way customers will experience their brands and products. This new capital will help us develop more strategic partnerships with these enterprises as they increase investment in a mobile-first approach to customer engagement.”

Ganesh Bell, managing director at Insight Partners, said today’s digital brands and services are increasingly demanding purpose-built mobile solutions that improve their products and experiences.

“Instabug is strongly positioned to lead the nascent mobile app observability and monitoring space because the company has treated mobile as a first-class citizen since day one, and its leadership has a deep understanding of the needs faced by mobile-focused/mobile first organisations and developers,” he said.

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Egyptian IT firm Benya to establish investment arm in Saudi Arabia next month

RIYADH: Egyptian Information and communications technology provider Benya Group is planning to establish an investment arm in Saudi Arabia by the end of this year, according to a report published in Daily News Egypt.

The move from Benya Group is considered the firm's first step in its expansion in the markets of the Arabian Gulf.

Ayman Al-Bayaa, Benya Group chief operations officer and CEO of Benya Systems, said that Saudi Arabia is an excellent market in terms of investment opportunities in the field of data centers, smart city solutions, and information security.

Headquartered in Cairo, Benya Group is known for providing digital solutions and ICT infrastructure to companies in Egypt and the Middle East and North Africa region.

The company operates in multiple verticals of ICT which include telecommunication services, cloud, and security solutions, hyperscale data centers, manufacturing technology-based solutions and systems integration, according to the company website.

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Egypt Investing $40Bn To Green Hydrogen Projects

Egypt’s pipeline for green hydrogen projects stands at 11.62 gigawatts (GW), equivalent to over 1.57 million tons of green hydrogen, ranking the country in the top three green hydrogen pipelines globally, after Australia and on par with Mauritania.

The estimated cost for these hydrogen projects alone, without additional infrastructures, will be around $20 billion. The projects are expected to come online before 2035, according to Rystad Energy research.

The series of projects announced in Egypt over the past three months has captivated foreign developers and highlighted the country’s potential. The interest shown by international developers in Egypt is due to some favorable factors including the country’s location, natural gas infrastructure, liquefaction facilities, bunkering market, and marine ports, as well as its high solar and wind potential.

Egypt is also close to markets like the European Union and the Middle East – regions set to see a huge demand for hydrogen in the coming years.

The government of Egypt plans to release a $40 billion national hydrogen plan in the coming months, recognizing the importance of production, storage, and export and import of green hydrogen and ammonia under its economic development strategy and allowing for state support and tax incentives.

The process of establishing, operating, and managing hydrogen projects has been simplified, requiring a single permit, which means less red tape. Additional incentives could include special custom points for export and import, utility connection costs being passed on to the state, the reimbursement of 50 percent of land allocation costs – under the condition that the project commences production within two years – and other non-fiscal incentives.

“Egypt has all the prerequisites to become a green hydrogen giant – fantastic renewable potential, space for mega projects, and construction expertise. The $40 billion in planned investments by the Egyptian government demonstrates commitment and will bring further foreign investment. Sitting between three continents and with the Suez Canal carrying approximately 12 percent of all the seaborne freight in the world, Egypt can supply renewable energy near and far. The domestic market will benefit too as the Egyptian agriculture sector can look forward to being one of the greenest when it comes to fertilizer use,” says Minh Khoi Le, Head of Hydrogen at Rystad Energy.

This plan would be a huge development for Egypt’s green hydrogen economy. The upcoming legislation will enable green hydrogen and ammonia plans, and with the over 11 GW of projects already announced, Rystad Energy expects a huge inflow of foreign investment into the country.

Several feasibility studies and MoUs between Egyptian state entities and leading international ammonia and hydrogen market players for the development of green ammonia and green hydrogen have been reported in 2021.

These studies and preliminary agreements are expected to proceed to projects due to the commitment from the Egyptian government that should encourage additional international investors to enter the Egyptian hydrogen and ammonia market.

Project by capacity

Major announcements made this year include French utility EDF and ZeroWaste which signed an MoU with Egypt's Suez Canal Economic Zone to produce 350,000 tons of green fuel annually in the Ain Sokhna region for ships, vessels, and tankers crossing the Suez Canal.

The project’s first phase will produce 140,000 tons of green ammonia using close to 25,000 tons of green hydrogen from desalinated seawater and renewable energy as feedstock. Commissioning is scheduled for the first quarter of 2026. Capacity will then gradually increase to 350,000 tons of green ammonia production per year. The project will involve a total investment of $3 billion.

AMEA Power, a subsidiary of Al Nowais Group, also inked an MoU with the Suez Canal Economic Zone to produce 390,000 tons of green ammonia per year in Ain Sokhna for export purposes. In addition, Norway’s Scatec announced plans to develop a $5 billion green hydrogen and ammonia facility, that will also be in the Suez zone.

Scatec inked an MoU with the General Authority of the Suez Canal Economic Zone for the project, which will be capable of producing 1 million tons of green ammonia annually, and could potentially expand to 3 million tons of green ammonia. The green ammonia will mainly be exported to European and Asian markets, where demand for clean ammonia is increasing rapidly.

Other projects in the country come from the Danish shipping company Maersk. British oilfield services provider Petrofac and New York-based hydrogen production and energy storage company H2-Industries aim to produce green fuels, green ammonia as well as liquid organic hydrogen carriers.

Almost 80 percent of the announced green hydrogen projects in Egypt are planned for the Suez zone, a global logistics hub that aims to connect Europe, Africa, and Asia through the Arabian Gulf and is responsible for 20 percent of the international container trade and 10 percent of the seaborne trade.

The hub’s Air Sokhna region enjoys proximity to a seawater desalination plant, sewage treatment plant, and bunkering facilities like ammonia, which make it very suitable for the trade of hydrogen and its derivatives.

The seven projects announced for the region in the last three months have a combined capacity of 10.76 GW, meaning an output of over 1.5 million tons of green hydrogen.

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Orange to complete first phase of NAC data centre next month

Hisham Mahran — Chief Enterprise Line Business Officer in Orange Egypt — said in remarks on Sunday that the company will finish implementing the first phase of a data centre in the New Administrative Capital (NAC) on time and that it will be delivered next month.

Orange signed a contract to establish the largest data centre in Africa within the NAC at the end of 2020 with investments worth $135m.

The Capital Data Centre aims to enhance data and host all smart city platforms of the NAC in a secure manner.

It is also responsible for preserving vital information, relying on the best and latest technologies for data security and protection in cooperation with specialised companies worldwide in this field.

During preparations for the Fifth Conference for the Future of Investment in Data Centres, Mahran said that Egypt has the potential to become a strategic hub for data centres in the region, especially since the technological infrastructure is developed and many submarine communication cables transit through it. This in addition to Egypt’s distinguished geographical location.

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Egypt's SCZONE signs USD 10bn in investment pacts with intl consortia

May 16 (Renewables Now) - The sum of the potential green fuel investments that could be made under pacts signed recently by the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZONE) has reached USD 10 billion (EUR 9.47bn), the entity governing the zone announced on Sunday.

SCZONE has signed a total of six memoranda of understanding (MOU) for the development of green hydrogen and green ammonia projects in the Ain Sokhna region of Egypt. The counterparties are major international companies and consortia.

The autonomous body governing the zone said in a statement that preparations are underway to establish these projects in Sokhna because of its readiness as an industrial zone. The idea is to produce green fuel and use it for ship bunkering purposes or export to foreign markets.

The latest MOU to be announced by SCZONE is between the consortium of France’s Total Eren and Egypt’s Enara Capital on one side and the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (TSFE), the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company and the New and Renewable Energy Authority on the other. The consortium wants to produce 300,000 tonnes of green ammonia annually in the first phase of the project and then expand the facility to reach 1.5 million tonnes per year.

As previously announced, Norwegian renewable power producer Scatec ASA (OSL:SCATC) and a couple of partners plan to develop a green ammonia plant in the zone with the capacity to produce one million tonnes per year. It could later be expanded to three million tonnes.

Abu Dhabi-based Masdar and its Cairo-based partner Hassan Allam Utilities intend to produce 480,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year through the development of up to 4 GW of electrolysers by 2030. An official said in April that the project could result in the production of 2.3 million tonnes of green ammonia for export.

A consortium of EDF Renewables and ZeroWaste intends to produce 350,000 tonnes of green fuel annually to supply ships as part of a multi-phase project with a total investment potential of USD 3 billion.

At the same time, Dubai-based AMEA Power plans to produce 390,000 tonnes of green ammonia per year for export purposes.

Meanwhile, Danish shipping company AP Moller-Maersk A/S (CPH:MAERSK-A; CPH:MAERSK-B) targets the production of 480,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year, according to SCZONE.

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Egypt infrastructure startup Pylon raises $19m seed round

Egypt-based water and electricity infrastructure management startup, Pylon, has raised a $19 million seed round, in a mix of equity and debt led by investment firm, Endure Capital.
Pylon uses smart metering as a service for electricity and water distribution companies to provide an end-to-end software solution to reduce operational inefficiencies.

Operating in Egypt and Philippines, the company will use its acquired capital to expand into emerging markets in south-east Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Backed by one of the leading global accelerators, Y-Combinator, Pylon is currently profitable.

It grew by 3.5 times in 2021, in addition to raising investments from capital firms Cathexis Ventures, Khawarizmi Ventures, and Loftyinc Venutres.

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Egypt’s Paymob to Start Pakistan Operation to Tap Growing Market

Egypt’s digital payments provider Paymob plans to start its operations in Pakistan this month, taking advantage of a market that has seen a funding frenzy in its startups.

The Cairo-based company, which allows online businesses and offline merchants to accept and send payments, sees a significant opportunity in Pakistan, Islam Shawky, CEO and co-founder of Paymob, said in an interview. The company plans to have 100,000 merchants in its first two years in Pakistan, he said and added it currently operates in Egypt, Jordan and Kenya and aims to enter Saudi Arabia later this year.

The expansion comes after the startup scene in Pakistan, the world’s fifth-largest nation, had a record funding of more than $350 million last year. Dragoneer Investment Group and Tiger Global Management have made their first investments in the past few months.

“Our focus is small and medium enterprises that are a cornerstone of the economy but under served,” said Shawky “There is a huge gap in emerging markets.”

Pakistan’s digital payments is low with just over 80,000 POS terminals and less than 3,000 e-commerce gateways, said Shawky. The company also plans to extend its tap-on-phone payment service in Pakistan that has been recently introduced in its home market with MasterCard Inc.

LG Corp., Samsonite International SA and Uber Technologies Inc. are among the clients of the company.

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