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Egypt starts digging new Suez Canal section, president says will finish next year

Egypt's president has inaugurated the digging of a new section of the Suez Canal, a $4 billion military-led project to expand a key corridor of world trade that he says will be finished next year.

As warplanes flew overhead in a ceremony broadcast on state television from the canal city of Ismailia on Tuesday, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said that the new 35-kilometer segment is part of several planned mega projects to boost the country's dilapidated economy. Egypt also plans another canal project that includes free trade zones to draw investment.

Egypt is the gatekeeper of the Suez Canal, one of the world's busiest water corridors and the strategic link between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. It is one of Egypt's main sources of revenue, generating annual revenues of $5 billion.