Egypt signs an array of deals to become the base of Russian investment in Africa and the Middle East while Russia's direct investment fund plans to create a $5bn Egyptian fund.

The Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry has signed a range of deals with Russia including one to establish a Russian industrial zone in the Suez Canal area.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund, a $10 billion fund established by the Russian government in June 2011, will also seek to sign memorandum of understandings with banks in Egypt in order to create a $5bn Egyptian investment fund.

Tarek Kabil, minister of industry and foreign trade in the Egyptian government, said that the country further intends to sign a free trade agreement with the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union. The decision was first reported by

The focus of these deals, according to Kabil, is to set Egypt up as the base for Russian investment in Africa and the Middle East.

Kabil said: “This [free trade] agreement will have a positive impact on the overall trade as soon as it is signed, and will open real opportunities to attract more foreign direct investment into Egypt.”