Russia poured $7 billion into Egypt in 2021 to create the Russian Industrial Zone (RIZ), the nation’s first industrial zone outside of Russia. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi developed a relationship with Russia in 2014 amid the Crimea crisis and the Ukrainian Revolution. Russia has been investing heavily in Egypt ever since and is currently pouring $4.6 billion into Egypt’s Suez Canal zone to create “Sun City,” an industrial zone covering 2,000 hectares.
Around 20% of all world trade moves through the Suez Canal. This is extremely strategic for Russian manufacturing and trade, and also explains Egypt’s refusal to support the West in its mission to escalate the Israel-Palestine war. Sun City is expected to bring 35,000 jobs to the Egyptian economy.
Egypt has become Africa’s leading destination for investment. It dethroned South Africa in 2017 to claim the title. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) stated that Egypt “supported by a large increase in Chinese investment across light manufacturing industries and wide-ranging economic reforms, such as financial liberalisation, which is basically the establishment of higher interest rates that equate the demand for, and the supply of savings.” China’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) spiked 75% in 2017, providing Egypt with a large boost. The UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia have also invested heavily in Egypt, especially in real estate and development.
There is nothing that the West can provide to Egypt to surpass what Arab and Eastern nations have done for its economy. The Egypt-Russia Trade and Investment Summary (YTD) 2022 indicates that Moscow and Cairo will continue to strengthen its relationship. A key to this report is that Russia is helping Egypt produce its first nuclear power plant, financing 85% of the project. El Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant will be positioned 320 kilometers from Cairo. But this deal initially began in 2015 when Russia promised to finance the project, and signed preliminary contracts in December 2017. The total project is set to cost $28.7 billion. Egypt will repay Russia the remaining 15% in installments with a repayment period of 22 years and an interest rate of 3%.
So basically, the plant will become Russia’s nuclear power in Africa and among the Arab world. They are anticipating completion in 2026 and it is safe to say that the West is going to do everything in its power to prevent this from happening. Look at the map above to see how strategic the positioning of this plant will be for Russia in not just Africa and the Arab nations but a stone’s throw away from Europe as well.