Egypt: The Suez Canal is getting wider

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has revealed a gift from Egypt to the world: the Suez Canal’s sea-level waterway will be enlarged by 37 km, with a new portion of 35 km. Initially planned for 2014, the expansion’s inauguration is scheduled for the end of summer 2015 – in time for the commemoration of the Canal’s nationalisation.

This new project is intended to strengthen the development of sea traffic between Europe and Asia, generate additional income for the Egyptian government, and nearly double the waterway’s capacity.

Coming two years after Egypt’s second revolution of July 3rd 2013, this announcement is accompanied by a wave of optimism in the economy, with several investment plans announced for the country in the coming years.

As one example, the IFC announced an investment of between $1.2 billion and $2 billion over the next four years in Egypt’s ports and logistics, as well as energy and infrastructure.

A record-setting contract of $9 billion has also recently been awarded to Siemens for an upgrade of 16.4GW of power generation – 50% of the total production capacity of the country (including 2GW which will be produced by 12 wind parks at the Suez channel and in the Western Nile region).

From a mobility perspective, these investments – correlated to a period of relative political calm – announce an acceleration of expat activity in the country. Supporting that trend, Egypt has fairly good availability of expat-style housing in safe compounds, decent security and fantastic possibilities for expatriate life, with a friendly population and enjoyable nightlife.