Siemens Combined Cycle Power Plant in Egypt
Business ties between Egypt and Germany date back decades and have grown steadily in recent years, with total investment by German companies in Egypt estimated at around $7.5 billion, according to Martin Wansleben, CEO of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK).
Annual German investments injected into the Egyptian economy in recent years vary between 0.5 and 1 billion dollars, the main areas being energy, railways, industry and tourism.
“German companies appreciate the professional, informed and trust-based planning and execution of projects with Egypt,” Wansleben told Al-Ahram Weekly during a visit to Egypt last Thursday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of German Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GACIC).
He noted that the GACIC, with its 2,500 members, is one of the largest bilateral chambers of commerce in Egypt and the Middle East and works to advance trade and economic relations between Egyptian and German companies.
Speaking at the 70th anniversary celebration, Frank Hartmann, German Ambassador to Egypt, said that many Egyptian-German success stories began with the GACIC, which acts as a key pillar for joint economic cooperation and construction of bridges for German companies in Egypt.
GACIC was established in Cairo in 1951 as the first German chamber of commerce in the Arab world.
It is a forum for building relationships and providing advice to German companies seeking to establish economic relations with Egypt and the Arab world and is also part of a global network of German chambers of commerce and industry spread in the whole world.
Massive infrastructure development in Egypt is an area that has seen a significant German presence in recent years. German companies are partners in projects worth $33 billion in the energy and railway sectors. In addition, the Egyptian government has signed an important contract, represented by the National Authority for Tunnels (NAT), with the German railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB) for the management and operation of the first network of high-speed electric trains from the country.
Siemens Mobility has partnered with Orascom Construction and Arab Contractors in an $8.6 billion contract to build the network.
The project is considered the most important in the history of Siemens, one of the key players in German industry. “This project aims to create the sixth largest high-speed rail system in the world, underlining Germany’s support for the project and its importance for German-Egyptian bilateral relations and global climate protection,” Hartmann said.
This project will also align many German and Egyptian subcontractors. “German companies are medium-sized companies that will look beyond the project and assess the general opportunities Egypt has to offer,” he said.
The German side also focuses fundamentally on training initiatives, according to Wansleben. Every investment in a project in Egypt is also linked to the transfer of know-how, he said.
Wansleben also praised the Egypt Vision 2030 strategy, adopted to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “One of the priorities is to secure and develop sustainable energy production and consumption,” he said, adding that the Egyptian government is aiming for a share of renewable energy exceeding 20% of the electricity mix by the end of this year and 42% by 2035. .
Wansleben highlighted the willingness of German companies to invest in green hydrogen projects that Egypt has embraced in its quest to diversify its energy mix and develop renewable energy projects.
Siemens Energy last year signed a memorandum of understanding with the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) to jointly develop a hydrogen-based industry in Egypt with export capability. As part of the first steps, Siemens Energy and EEHC will continue the development of a pilot project with a capacity of 100 to 200 MW.
“In general, medium-sized German companies provide cutting-edge technologies in energy projects,” Wansleben said. They may not be as visible as the work of contractors, he added, but much German technology is invested in existing and future energy projects.
*A version of this article appeared in the September 22, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.