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Egypt expects giant solar park to be fully operational in 2019

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt expects the 1.6 gigawatt solar park it is building in the south of the country to be operating at full capacity in 2019, the investment ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

The $2 billion project, set to be the world's largest solar installation, has been partly funded by the World Bank, which invested $653 million through the International Finance Corporation.

Some parts of the park are already operating on a small scale, while other areas are still undergoing testing.

Egypt aims to meet 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2022 and up to 40 percent by 2035. Renewable energy currently covers only about 3 percent of the country's needs.

"Egypt's energy sector reforms have opened a wider door for private sector investments," World Bank President David Malpass said during his visit to the site alongside Egypt's Investment Minister Sahar Nasr.

Egypt is on a drive to lure back investors who fled following the 2011 uprising with a slew of economic reforms and incentives the government hopes will draw fresh capital and kickstart growth.

Most of the foreign direct investment Egypt attracts goes towards its energy sector.


(Reporting by Ehab Farouk; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Yousef Saba and Jan Harvey)