Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel inaugurated on March 2 the first phase of Siemens’ new mega power project expected to book power generation capacity by 45%, Invest-Gate reports.

The EUR 8 bn (USD 8.9 bn) agreement is to establish three combined-cycle power plants with a capacity of 4,800 MW each, as well as 12 wind farms, according to a company statement. Along with local partners Orascom Construction and Elsewedy Electric, Siemens has managed to connect 4,800 MW to the grid within a mere 18 months of signing the agreement.

“In addition to building modern and efficient power infrastructure for the Egyptian people, Siemens is supporting training a local workforce of over 5,500 talented individuals within the next four years,” Siemens President and CEO Joe Kaeser said at a ceremony marking the launch of the project’s first phase in Cairo.

Kaeser added that the strategic partnership “signifies a new milestone in Siemens’ history in Egypt and underscores joint commitment to support the country’s long-term growth and development.”

Siemens secured 9-year service and maintenance agreements for the three power plants to help ensure the long-term reliability, availability and optimal performance of the units. The remaining substations will be completed and connected to the grid by the end of December 2017.

Over the past few years, Egypt has been seeking to resolve an energy crunch as its ageing state-run infrastructure struggles to hand rapidly-growing demand for electricity in a country of 93 mn people.