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DEI – Egypt: Free trade zone gets go-ahead from African leaders

After 5 years of talks, the leaders of 26 African countries have signed an agreement on the creation of a Tripartite Free Tree Area (TFTA) that will cover half of the African continent. Signed in Sharm El Sheikh, the agreement will integrate the existing 3 free trade areas and become the continent’s biggest single market.

The operation will pave the way in 2017 for a free trade area encompassing the entire continent and including about 1 billion people. The TFTA will cover an area stretching from Cairo to Cape Town and represent 60% of Africa’s GDP and 57% of its population, and will account for 2% of global trade. Its 3 pillars will be: market integration, infrastructure development and industrial development.

Panama: New Canal passes ocean test

The new Panama Canal has passed the lock flooding test on the Atlantic Ocean side, implemented by a consortium that includes Salini Impregilo. The opening of the valves and flooding of the basins fed by the waters of Lake Gatun will enable further tests to be carried out on the 8 giant sluice gates, weighing nearly 4000 tons, built by Cimolai, an Italian group based in Pordenone.

After this test further functional tests will continue for at least 3 or 4 months. Salini Impregilo expects the Canal to be ready in early 2016 for the first ship to pass from one ocean to the other. This will take just 8 hours, given that a circumnavigation of over 20,000 kilometres (about one month’s sailing time) will be avoided. The new Canal will enable post-Panamax ships of over 400 metres in length to transit, with a notably higher load capacity than at present.


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