The state-owned Arab Organisation for Industrialisation (AOI) has been selected to build 25 wheat silos in Egypt as part of a $4.9bn aid package from the UAE.

MEED reported in late May that the total capacity of the facilities will be 1.5 million tonnes and the project is being initiated to attempt to store most of the 1.6 million tonnes of Egyptian wheat, worth an estimated $500m, that is lost each year. Issues with corruption, as well as a weak distribution system, have been blamed for the waste.

The AOI is run by retired Egyptian Lieutenant General Abd El-Aziz Seif-Eldeen. The Egyptian government said more than one company bid for the contract. However, the company will be able to hire subcontractors without issuing tenders. Work has already started on two silos in Amiriya and Damietta.

The contract is the first major scheme to be awarded since former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013. Al-Sisi was officially sworn in as president of Egypt on 8 June after being elected to office in late May.  

The silos represents one of the largest industrial contracts awarded in the past three years in Egypt. There are currently no industrial schemes at the design or main contract bid stages in Egypt and a total of $789m are at the execution phase, according to regional projects tracker MEED Projects.

Prior to 2011, there were several large projects planned across several heavy industrial sectors including steel and manufacturing. However, almost all were cancelled in the wake of the Arab uprising that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011.

Several GCC states, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE, are ploughing money into Egypt in an attempt to kick-start its economy after three years of stagnation brought about by Mubarak’s departure. A total of $12bn has been pledged by the three nations.