Sigma Investments, based in Jordan, is set to partner with the Egyptian government to launch the region’s first grain exchange by the end of the year.

Sigma’s chief executive Iman Mutlaq released the information during an interview, Trade Arabia reported on 15 February.

The commodities exchange, EGYCOMEX had a proposed partnership of 80% private investment and 20% government investment.

It will trade spot and futures for grains, mainly wheat, as well as gold and oil, Reuters said.

Egypt is the world’s largest importer of wheat; it purchases around 10M tonnes/year from global markets.

Mutlaq said the majority of the government’s contract wheat imports – bought by the state grain buyer GASC – would be done on the exchange, thus 80% of Egypt’s total grain trading will be brought to the exchange.

The grain exchange will give the country’s farmers transparent grain prices and allow them to trade even small quantities of grain.

According to Mutlaq, Sigma was setting up the legal framework of the exchange with the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority.