Cairo, Aug. 5 (Reuters): Egypt said today it plans to build a new Suez Canal alongside the existing 145-year-old historic waterway in a multi-billion dollar project to expand trade along the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia.
The project, to be run by the army, is a major step by new President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to stimulate Egypt’s struggling economy and recalled some of the grand national programmes of one of Sisi’s predecessors, army strongman Gamal Abdel Nasser. Sisi, a former army chief, took power last year after ousting elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.
The Suez Canal earns Egypt about $5 billion a year, a vital source of hard currency for a country that has suffered a slump in tourism and foreign investment since the 2011 uprising that preceded Mursi’s presidency.
An official in the Suez Canal Authority told Reuters the new canal was set to boost annual revenues to $13.5 billion by 2023.
The new channel, part of a larger project to expand port and shipping facilities around the canal, aims to raise Egypt's international profile and establish it as a major trade hub.