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Egypt to dig ‘new Suez canal’ at cost of $4.5b

Published on Aug 6, 2014 2:39 AM
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (centre), military personnel and children place their hands on a detonator at an event marking the announcement of plans for a major upgrade of the Suez Canal, in Cairo August 5, 2014. Egypt said on Tuesday it plans to build a new Suez Canal alongside the existing 145-year-old historic waterway in a multi-billion dollar project to expand trade along the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

CAIRO (AFP) - President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi launched on Tuesday the construction of a US$4 billion (S$4.5 billion) “new Suez Canal” that aims to speed up traffic along the existing waterway and boost Egypt’s battered economy.

The project foresees the creation of a million jobs at a time when Egypt is struggling to recover from more than three years of political turmoil since the ouster of long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Mr Sisi, accompanied by government ministers and army generals, set an ambitious target of digging the new canal, which would run parallel to the original Suez Canal built 145 years ago.

“No matter what it takes, this project must be finished in a year. That is what Egyptians expect,” Mr Sisi said at an inauguration ceremony in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya.

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