Egypt has invited Cypriot businesses to bid for some of the €6 billion in large construction projects currently underway, Communications, Works and Transport Minister Marios Demetriades and his Egyptian counterpart Hany Dahy said on Thursday.
The two men headed a meeting of delegations from the two countries in the context of Dahy`s visit in Nicosia and discussed ways of cooperation, including the possibility of a ferry connection, cooperation on cruises, the employment of Egyptian personnel in ships under Cypriot management and the use of Cyprus as a link between Egypt and the EU.
On air connectivity, Demetriades said that Dahy was not the minister responsible for such matters, but that Cyprus` request to amend the bilateral agreement with Egypt had been accepted and there were parties interested in undertaking flights from Cyprus to Egypt. Currently Egypt Air is the only carrier operating the route.
Dahy said there were a number of ongoing projects in Egypt that Cypriot businesses had been invited to bid for. “We have discussed the current transportation projects and presented them to our friends in Cyprus,” he said.
He said they had discussed ways of cooperating by making use of Cyprus’ and Egypt’s geographic locations especially with regard to ports, and the current expansion of the Suez Canal.
He also spoke of the possibility for the employment of Egyptian maritime graduates and of establishing a branch of the Arab Academy of Science Technology and Maritime Education in Cyprus.
Demetriades the two delegations discussed developing the coastal connection between Cyprus and Egypt and also rejuvenating the cruise industry.
“As you know this used to be a very big business some years ago but because of the instability in the region it diminished in recent years. We believe that we can rejuvenate that industry again and we agreed that we will take common initiatives to do this,” he said.
Another item on the agenda according to Demetriades was “the possibility of doing together some EU projects and getting funding from the EU”.
“We believe that Cyprus can act as the link between Egypt and the European Union,” he said.
Demetriades said Cypriot businesses had been invited to bid for huge projects such as the Suez Canal, and motorways of 3,200 km-long.
The projects are of the order of about €6 billion. If Cypriot businesses were successful in securing even a small part of the projects it would be a very important development, Demetriades said.
He called on the Cypriot private sector to take advantage of this opportunity. One Cypriot company is already taking part in the construction of roads in Egypt, he said, expressing the hope that others would follow.
The minister also said that a private company in Cyprus had prepared a study which will be sent to Egypt on creating a sustainable connection between the two countries. He also said there were positive indications for the operation of cruises which would stop in Cyprus, and Egypt and would go as far as the Dead Sea. (CNA)