EBRD initiates second phase of Suez Canal’s digital transformation project


The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced that it is launching the second phase of its technical support programme to digitalise the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone). 

The second phase will include the re-engineering of more than 60 services, including land management, project approvals, environmental approvals, company registration, and foreign worker permits.

The technical support will also cover the full automation and digitalisation of the one-stop shop by establishing agile software and hardware solutions.

This will produce a fully automated and functioning Investor Services Department (ISD) at the SCZone to better serve and support investors.

ISD personnel will also receive comprehensive training to boost their technical skills.

“The one-stop shop service provided by the SCZone to its investors is part of the enabling strategy, which is based on digital transformation as one of the main pillars for the 2020-25 plan,” said Chairman of the SCZone, Waleid Gamal El-Dien.

READ: Suez Canal Authority signs $500 million deal for East Port Said container terminal

The Bank is helping the SCZone to develop an efficient, competitive, and eco-friendly business environment.

The goal is to position the SCZone as a leading space for global trade, industries, and services, and to attract international investors, as well as generate jobs for Egyptians, according to the EBRD.

The Minister of International Cooperation, Rania A. Al-Mashat and Governor of Egypt at the EBRD, said: “The digital transformation project of the SCZone is of particular importance in light of the government of Egypt’s commitment to attracting and promoting investments in this vital region and to stimulating the investment environment, facilitating and simplifying procedures, as well as enhancing the organisation of work and skills development.”

READ: SCZone to conclude clean energy agreements in November

The first phase of the project launched in August 2020 and was successfully completed in 2022, having significantly cut red tape for investors, reported the EBRD.

The number of procedures for the priority re-engineered services, for instance construction permits and operating licences, were reduced by 35 per cent.

The length of service delivery for the re-engineered services was cut by 52 per cent and fees and service charges increased by 110 per cent, according to the EBRD.

This announcement comes several months after the EBRD provided a €40 million ($41.7 million) loan to Agence Nationale des Ports (ANP) to enhance the climate resilience of ports along Morocco’s Atlantic coastline.

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