Billed as Egypt’s gift to the world, the inauguration of the new Suez Canal earlier this month delivered a crystal-clear message: once again, Egypt is making history. Expanding the 145-year old Suez Canal was long overdue. The Canal is one of the world’s most famous trading waterways. Since it opened in 1869, it has been a lifeline, not just for Egypt, but for the entire world.

Completed in just 12 months, despite predictions that it would take up to five years, the USD $8 billion mega-project grabbed the attention of every corner of the globe. As Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi declared at the inaugural ceremony, “the New Suez Canal shows Egypt's ability to make history efficiently.”

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The New Suez Canal is estimated to increase traffic and boost annual revenues from $5.3 billion currently, to $13.2 billion by 2023. A new parallel waterway 35 km long, in addition to 37 km of the existing canal that has been deepened and widened, will allow two-directional traffic for ships to pass north and south concurrently. Moreover, the waterway expansion will increase daily usage from 49 to 97 ships by 2023.

Being largely funded through investment certificates clearly demonstrates that liquidity is available in Egypt for the right investments. The New Suez Canal signifies a major, promising opportunity to stimulate the future of the Egyptian economy as a vital source of foreign currency.  Equally important, it capitalizes on the country’s ability to trade by amalgamating other ports and establishing a large-scale logistics district that will create the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

My bank is fully committed to the restoration of Egypt’s economy and has been closely involved with the New Suez Canal project as a Gold Sponsor. CIB is directing our investments and financial services to support both investors and officials in charge of the project. Prior to the inauguration of the project, we provided innovative products to automate the processing of Suez Canal Authority payments, which significantly reduced the waiting time for vessels. We are now looking to create an entirely new product category to accommodate the expected demands associated with the anticipated growth and development of the area.

The revenue growth and development along the New Suez Canal all point to tremendous economic stimulation. This strategic waterway project not only reflects Egypt’s return to stability and the rich, plentiful and unexploited opportunities the country holds, but it marks the return of our country to the center of the world map. This is a new lifeline for Egypt’s prosperity.

Al-Arab is chairman and managing director of the Commercial International Bank (Egypt).