We speak to Ahmed El Sewedy of El Sewedy Electric Group to discuss the energy sector in Egypt and the growing adoption of renewable energy.
Before moving to the energy sector and some of the mega projects you have been part of, I wanted to get your opinion as a business leader here in Egypt, who has seen all the ups and downs of the country, and your opinion on the recent economic reforms being able to create a sustainable growth for Egypt in the future.
Of course, after the Revolution it was a bit tough. But I think things are very clear now, the current Egyptian leadership has very clear targets for Egypt’s economic growth. On the infrastructure front, challenges were faced in terms of roads, bridges, electricity, and energy generation in general. Now we have it solved for the next ten years. Now Egypt is capable of exporting energy. Now you have investment all over Egypt, you have in Alamein, Nasr City, Sadat, and Sokhna. As Egypt, being in the center of the region, I believe it is ready for the next ten years to be the regional and continental hub for the energy, electricity, and tourism.
What is your current analysis on the engagement of the private sector in the economy and how do you think that can be improved moving forward?
I believe the role of the private sector in infrastructure investments is paramount. I believe public-private partnerships are the future. The government has to open this space for the private sector, to invest in the future. This is the most important approach to take on now.
You’ve collaborated with some very big names like Siemens in terms of renewable energy. What kind of cooperation would you like to see between local enterprises such as yourself and the big international players?
I think this can be extended in Egypt and in the region. For the region and Africa, we are able to enter into strategic partnerships with African governments and counterparts. We are able to live there, to develop these countries, so by the partnership with one of the biggest holding companies worldwide, I think this will be a great success for all of us.
How are you taking advantage of that position of Egypt to expand operations and share your know-how and expertise with neighboring countries?
We are doing this now, by now our company has had a lot of presence in other countries, so we are able to share our success in Egypt with other countries – by partnership with the governments of Sudan, Libya, Zambia, Tunisia and Algeria. Through these partnerships, we were able to demonstrate the Egyptian model of success; building on our achievements and experience across the continent for the last 3-4 years.
How attractive is the energy market in Egypt today, both for local players and foreign players?
Egypt is full of opportunities when it comes to the energy sector. However, having a surplus in many energy forms limits the opportunities available for investors. On the other hand, there are many attractive sectors in Egypt for investors such as tourism, trading and industry in general. I think this is the future.