Egypt’s new Suez Canal officially opened on Thursday and is set to pave for stronger cooperation between China-Egypt and benefit regional and global trade in addition to conjoining with China’s New Silk Road initiative.
China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, known as the Belt and Road initiatives — and also known as the New Silk Road which was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping — aims to revive the ancient trade routes between Asia and Europe in an effort to deepen China’s economic integration with over 40 countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe by creating an unbroken transport and infrastructure network to boost connectivity.
“Egypt can play a main role in China’s Belt and Road initiatives due to its strategic geographic location,” said Han Bing, minister counselor for economic affairs with the Chinese embassy in Cairo, Xinhua reports.
According to Han, port cooperation should be a priority for China and Egypt as both sides collaborate to push forward the New Silk Road as well as the Suez Canal economic corridor initiatives, and both projects have a great influence over the Middle East, Africa, and the entire planet in terms of geopolitics and global trade.
Egypt is planning to open six new ports and more industrial parks alongside the canal, and launch in the nearby areas projects such as a new industrial city which could host hundreds of factories.
“The new Suez Canal area will give the Chinese side more opportunities to invest in Egypt and other countries,” Egypt’s former ambassador to China Mahmoud Allam told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Egyptian officials have said that they believe the new canal will help nearly triple the canal’s annual ship traffic revenues from $5.3 billion in 2015 to $15 billion by 2023, by attracting huge foreign investments and creating thousands of job opportunities.
Analysts have said that the canal is only the beginning, as they believe that more development projects in the Suez Canal corridor are on the horizon, which will bring billions of dollars in investment and create an influx of new jobs.