A UK trade envoy to Egypt has promised £2.5bn of finance available for projects in Egypt, adding that the UK Export Finance (UKEF) agency is able to underwrite up to £500mn in financing or insurance for any Egyptian deals.

The visit, including MP Jeffery Donaldson and CEO of UKEF Louis Taylor, follows London’s announcement of a new ministry of international trade as it moves to forge new trade deals after its decision to exit the European Union (EU).

The programme includes a series of meetings with Egyptian businesses and officials, including the Egyptian prime minister Sherif Ismael, minister of trade and industry Tarek Kabil and minister of investment Dalia Khorshid.

The team will review some key projects during the trip, including the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCEZ), the Tahrir Petrochemicals project in Sokhna and various projects in Alexandria, the British embassy in Cairo says.

The SCEZ was launched last year to boost the role of the Suez Canal region in international trading. The project includes building a new city, an industrial zone, completion of a technology valley and seven new tunnels between the canal cities of Ismailia, Sinai and Port Said.

It also includes the building of a new canal parallel to the Suez, to increase capacity by allowing ships to sail in both directions simultaneously for a greater length.

Earlier this year Khorshid said he expects the economic zone, which offers various legal and economic incentives to attract foreign investment and trade, to eventually make up about a third of the country’s economy.

According to local press reports, representatives from construction companies Gleeds and Atkins were at the SCEZ visit which took place in Ain Sokhna.

“The past few months have seen many enquiries from British companies wishing to do business in Egypt and their interest highlights the significant opportunities that are available across a range of Egyptian commercial sectors,” says Donaldson.

“The UK is a global leader in many of the sectors for which Egypt has greatest demand, including transport and infrastructure,” says Taylor.

“UKEF can help Egyptian buyers access UK goods and services.”