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Egypt's President Abdelfattah el-Sisi attended a ceremony yesterday to unveil a major extension the Suez Canal. The original canal was completed 1869 and took 10 years to build. The new, $8.5 billion canal was constructed just 12 months, beating all predictions industry experts that it would take five years. The canal provides a passageway the Mediterranean and Red Seas. President Sisi sailed the canal his presidential yacht, the El Mahrousa, wearing military fatigues to attend the inauguration. The El Mahrousa was the first ship to officially sail the original canal nearly a century-and-a-half ago. President Sisi described the new canal as Egypt's "gift the world".

Egypt's government hopes the new canal will provide a much-needed boost the country's economy. The head the Suez Canal Authority, Mohab Mamish, said the new canal was important to ensure Egypt earns revenues its waterways the future. He told reporters: "If I can't handle this and turn it revenue the Egyptian treasury, alternative routes will emerge." He hopes revenues will increase the current annual $5.3 billion to $13.2 billion 2023. That means shipping traffic would need to grow 49 per day at present to 97 2023. This would entail a nine per cent increase global trade. Some economists have cast doubt whether these figures can be met.

 
 

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