Egypt says it has raised the $8.5bn needed to fund its project to expand the Suez Canal, a project that is planned to increase government revenues from the waterway.

The funds were raised in just eight days, according to a statement made by central bank governor Hisham Ramez on state television station Al-Hayat.

The project has been funded by selling investment certificates that have a 12 per cent interest rate. The certificates pay quarterly dividends and come in denominations of E£10, E£100 and E£1000 ($1.40-$140).

Previously, Ramez had predicted there would be a “huge turnout” from the Egyptian people eager to buy the certificates.

Proceeds of the certificates will be paid by Suez Canal revenue, which is forecast to grow $5.5bn to $13bn over the next four years following the expansion.

The canal project involves the construction of a 34-kilometre parallel channel to allow for more ships to pass through the waterway, reducing waiting times.

Currently, ships travelling from the north have to berth for a number of hours to wait for convoys of vessels from the south to pass.

A 2013 report from the Washington-based World Bank found that the canal was providing “meagre returns”, and this project is hoped to reverse the situation.

While the first goal has been reached purely though domestic funding some analysts say Egypt may, at some point, have to look at international sources of funding as well.

Dry excavation work on the Suez Canal project started on 10 August when 3,000 trucks and loaders, and 7,500 workers began to work on site.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has called for the digging and dredging to be complete within a year. The army is overseeing the project, and it is understood that foreign construction companies from Europe and the Gulf are looking to be involved in the project. It is unclear as to whether this work will be tendered or awarded directly.

There is an additional Suez project focused on the development of the areas surrounding the canal under way. This will involve the construction of industrial and logistics hubs to support the export operations of Egyptian companies.

In mid-August, the World Bank said it was providing technical advisory services to support the masterplan for the Suez Canal Area Development project.

Foreign and Arab investors will have the opportunity to invest in this project, according to Egypt’s Ministry of Finance.