Egypt's Suez governorate is witnessing brisk economic and investment activity, the most recent of which was the announcement of a project to develop an industrial area to attract investments.
The Egyptian government signed a contract with China's Egypt TEDA Corporation in late April to develop this area -- which will span six square kilometres -- in the northwest Gulf of Suez economic zone.
The agreement is part of a plan to develop the zone as a whole, as well as transform the Suez Canal corridor into a major economic zone and increase its revenue.
Following the signing of the contract, Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil described the project as "part of the Egyptian dream to transform the Suez Canal from a waterway that brings in $5.5 billion to an economic zone that raises $100 billion in revenue annually".
By opening the door to investment, the government will transform the region into an integrated tourist, residential and economic zone, said Fareed al-Aam of the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development.
Job opportunities created by new projects in Suez can help stem the local population's migration to Cairo and other major cities in search of livelihoods, he said.
All specialisations will be in demand, he added, in fields from technology to pharmaceutical industries, car assembly, plastics and oil equipment manufacturing.
Anticipated international investments will be concentrated in an area in the northwest Gulf of Suez economic zone, according to Radhwan Gameel, an economic advisor at the Ministry of Investment's vital studies committee.
"According to studies, planned factories are expected to employ 40,000 Egyptian workers over the next three years," Gameel said.
The general trend is to employ workers from the region, "which represents a radical solution to the issue of widespread unemployment among the youth of the Suez region", he said.
The new industrial area will include thousands of small- and medium-sized enterprises, he said.
To Fares al-Bahnasi, a trader and general manager of al-Bahansi import and export company, the advantages enjoyed by investors in the region are "very attractive".
"New investors will enjoy the advantages brought about by the international agreements, as well as a tax rate that will not exceed 10% and customs and sales tax exemptions of up to 100%," he said.
The largest of the planned projects is the Technology Valley project to be built in Port Said in co-operation with international experts, al-Bahnasi said.
Egypt "is lagging significantly in modern technology industries", he said, and the project will help the region achieve success in this arena.