CAIRO: An Indian-Egyptian company has won the 2005 Investor of the Year Award, given out by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), for selecting Egypt as the location for a multi-million dollar investment project.
Indo Egyptian Fertilizer Company, which was launched as a result of a joint venture between Indian Fertilizer Company, Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) and Egyptian Mining Company, El Nasr Mining Company SAE, will invest more than $950 million in Egypt, creating thousands of job opportunities, increasing exports and providing inexpensive nutrients to assist Egyptian farmers in rural areas to increase crop yields by setting up a phosphoric acid project in Edfu, in the Aswan governorate.
The plant, which will begin production in 2009 and cost more than $325 million to build, will inject in Egypt annual earnings of $200 million by exporting fertilizers.
The project will also provide direct employment for 350 individuals and indirect employment for more than 2,000 people in Upper Egypt, as well as increase the socio-economic level of villagers with the development of that area.
The project also proposes to take young engineers and fresh graduates to India, where they will be trained in the company’s factories in order to be equipped with the know-how needed to work at the Edfu plant.
As for the ancillary industries near the site, the project will aid in developing them, including green belt development in the area, according to the Ministry of Investment.
The project also proposes to utilize the railway line that runs from Edfu to Safaga and the Abu Tartur ferry at Safaga port for export-import purposes.
Furthermore, by utilizing these two transportation lines, Egyptian Railways and the IMC will benefit through earnings; employment opportunities for Egyptians at the port, as well as transportation through railways and roadways, which will also increase as they become more active.
The company has also stated that they plan to invest an additional $600 million to set up an ammonia and di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) plant at Edfu. However, they were quick to add that this would only materialize if and when the government decides to make natural gas available at competitive prices.
Should this project go through, Egyptian farmers will reap the benefits, as DAP is a more efficient nutrient and also further adds value to phosphoric acid, according to the ministry.
ENMC, Egypt s largest rock phosphate mining company, will supply basic inputs for the project, while IFFCO will buy back the entire phosphoric acid output.
The Aswan governorate has already allotted the land needed for construction of the project, and the project has received free zone status from the General Authority for Investments and Free Zones (GAFI), Egypt.
A discussion with international financial institutions for syndication of a $220 million loan for the project is still in the works.
The award was presented to the chairman of the Indo Egyptian Fertilizer Company SAE, S.K. Jakhar, by the vice chairman of GAFI, Amr Abd El Azim.
OECD, in association with the Jordan Investment Board, awarded the “Investor of the Year Award 2005 to the company, which in the Innovative and Young Entrepreneur category at its MENA Inter-Ministerial meeting in Cairo.
In 2005, India’s ambassador to Egypt said that the volume of bilateral trade between Egypt and India was valued at $830 million during the period April 2005-March 2005, according to arabicnews.com.
The ambassador also stated that Egyptian exports to India amounted to $381 million, turning Egypt into one of India’s most important trade partners in the region.
This new joint venture is evidence of the development of economic relations between the two countries, the ambassador added at a 2005 press conference, according to arabicnews.com.
India and Egypt’s bilateral trade agreements and ventures run in several sectors, such as; tourism, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, cosmetics, paintings, IT and oil.
India is especially keen on making use of Egypt s experience in the field of tourism. According to the ambassador, only 40,000 out of a total of 5 million Indian tourists visit Egypt annually.