Ex-PM Sharaf hopes investment will benefit Cairo - Akram Ali Former Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has warned the Suez Canal “could not possibly be sold,” rubbishing recent reports that foreign investors are looking to cash in on the country’s economic lifeline. Sharaf, who now heads a technical committee working on sustainable development in the Canal region, said: “Rather than selling the Canal, we can benefit a great deal from it in order to achieve economic development.” Speaking at a seminar organised by the US Chamber of Commerce in Cairo on Wednesday, Sharaf urged for immediate investment and development to be flooded into the key trading route. “Sustainable development must start without delay,” he said. “There have been obstacles in the way up until now, but they can be overcome.” “Projects like this one will have a positive effect on Egypt’s investment climate, creating a new culture for cities situated along the Canal and in the Sinai,” the former Prime Minister added. "If the project could benefit from just 30 percent of the trade that passes through the canal, it could give us up to $40bn.” Sharaf has previously called for new ports and waterways to be built along the Suez Canal.