Egypts Ministry of Trade and Industry has announced it will offer 12 new steel mill licenses to meet rapidly increasing demand and to stave off an expected shortage by 2017.
The deadlines for the launch of the factory building licenses will be finalised by the beginning of next month, the ministry has said.
The Egyptian Industrial Development Authority says the new factories are vital to the adequate supply of steel in the country, which is expected to reach to five million tons by 2017 if the growth rate continues to rise at seven per cent. If growth hits eight per cent, demand is expected to increase to six millions tons.
Egypt's demand for steel has been steadily rising over the past four years, as massive infrastructure, housing and tourist projects were implemented to capitalize on the strong performance of the Egyptian economy and the subsequent increase in the population purchasing power.
In 2004, steel consumption amounted to just 3.4 million tons. In 2007, the figure rose to 5.2 million tons, and in 2008 steel consumption grew 15.3 per cent year on year.
Egypt's per capita consumption of steel in 2007 was about 69.2 kg, which was above the African average of 35.8 kg. Analysts say one of the reasons for this large discrepancy is Egypt's large population, of 81.7 million people.
Across the Middle East region the steel industry is booming, and experts say it will continue to offer a wealth of opportunities for the steel and metal industries.
?The resurgent metal and steel industries of the MENA region means that next year's Metal and Steel Exhibition (February 26 -28, 2011, Egypt), is well placed to once again provide the perfect platform for business across all aspects of the Middle East's metal, iron and steel industries,? said exhibition managing director Ahmed Megahed.