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Athletic investment
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 26 - 04 - 2016

A sporting industries city is to be established, at a preliminary cost of LE5 billion to LE10 billion, in the Suez Canal Special Economic Zone (SCZone).
The project will be implemented under an economic regime that permits the tax-free importation of raw materials to produce goods for export to Arab and African states and to meet the needs of the Egyptian market.
The city will support 1,260 athletic activities catering to 1,200 athletic clubs and 4,200 youth centres across Egypt, as well as facilities and clubs connected to the Armed Forces, the police, Al-Azhar, and the ministries of education and higher education.
Essam Mohamed Abdullah, a professor of business management at Misr University for Science and Technology and a former deputy minister for youth and sport, is behind the sporting industries project.
He said he will soon meet with Ahmed Darwish, head of the SCZone and the governorate of Ismailiya, along with a representative from a Taiwanese company that manufactures sporting goods, to finalise plans for the project, which will produce sporting goods to international specifications.
After receiving approval for the project from the Ministry of Youth and Sport, he presented the project to Darwish, who in turn put the idea to the country's political leadership.
Abdullah said that the matter has been discussed at the highest level, and the government has been persuaded to support the project, which will create thousands of new jobs.
The new city will work to attract investors from Arab states, offering them investment incentives, he said. This would allow the project to produce sporting goods for the Egyptian, Arab and African markets at competitive prices.
The project would put Egypt on the path to sporting goods production for the Arab and African markets and would employ more than 20,000 people, Abdullah said. Once the project is up and running, there are hopes it will export up to $10 million worth of goods annually to the Arab market.
Five technical schools will be established to train workers to manufacture sporting goods, and a bank will be set up to finance small sporting goods businesses. The project is also expected to invigorate intra-Arab and African trade.
Abdullah believes various stakeholders need to play a role to help complete the project. Land can be made available for investors from Egypt and abroad, he said, and various ministries will be involved in marketing the goods produced, facilitating the entry of necessary foreign labour, expertise and raw materials and marketing the products in state-owned outlets to government sporting clubs and youth centres.
Legislation would need to be passed to permit the purchase of Egyptian high-quality products that meet international specifications by private and government athletic facilities, Abdullah added.

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