CAIRO, Egypt: Ayman Soliman, CEO of Egypt's Sovereign Fund, said as part of the first $3 billion phase of a renewable energy program, the country plans to award contracts next year to build 21 water desalination plants nationwide.
In an interview at the Reuters NEXT conference, Soliman said that Egypt, which recently hosted COP27 and is trying to attract investment in renewables, also aims to start production at a series of proposed green hydrogen projects in 2025-2026.
The first phase of the desalination program aims to generate 3.3 million cubic meters of water per day, eventually reaching 8.8 million cubic meters daily at a cost of $8 billion.
Soliman noted that the first phase of the program has attracted the interest from more than 200 developers from 35 countries.
The Sovereign Fund, which was established in 2018 to attract private investment in state-owned assets through partnerships and co-investments, is currently focused on getting private consortia to develop brownfield infrastructure, and private equity to develop state-owned enterprises ahead of public listings.
A state ownership policy will help to map out which parts of the economy are open to private investment, and serve as the government's "economic constitution" going forward, Soliman said.
"We as a fund are very sharply focused on trying to find those champions to scale up, be it in agriculture be it in tourism, be it in infrastructure, or be it in banking financial services," he added.