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Effect of the use of Renewable Energy on Economic Growth in Egypt

Effect of the use of Renewable Energy on Economic Growth in Egypt



Writing by: Mariam Adel

Outline:
I)              Introduction
II)           Theoretical Framework
III)        Literature Review
IV)        Methodology
V)           Discussion and analysis
1.      Overview on renewable energy development in Egypt
2.      Effect of renewable energy on Egyptian economic growth
3.      Challenges hinder the application of the Egyptian strategy
4.      Policy recommendations for Egyptian government
VI)       Conclusion.

I)    Introduction
Egypt has been paving its way towards development and economic growth. One of its key pillars is trying to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. Working on the SDGs would help Egypt attain inclusive growth. This study is concerned with renewable energy as a way of achieving economic growth; since renewable energy is not as costly as other conventional sources of energy. It also protects the environment and does not contribute to pollution.  Employing people in this field will create a lot of job opportunities and accordingly will boost the business cycle. Therefore, using renewable energy as an alternative for fossil fuel is a win-win situation in Egypt and it is a promising sector that would fasten Egypt’s way to sustainable development.
With the availability of natural resources, Egypt is a suitable environment for sustainable energy investments. This equipment market will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Egypt intends to supply 20 percent of generated electricity from renewable sources by 2022, with wind providing 12 percent, Hydro power 5.8 percent, and Solar 2.2 percent. The government has recently announced their renewable energy plan for 2035 to include an addition of 67 GW (representing 45 percent of total generated electricity), of which 31 GW comes from PV, and 20 GW from wind. The solar energy plan aims to install 3.5 GW by 2027; including 2.8 GW of PV (photovoltaic) and 700 MW of CSP (concentrated solar power). The strategy also plans to generate 7.2 GW (12 percent of generated electricity) from wind by 2022. It's expected that the private sector will direct 67% of the plan.  The Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy is arranging to increase the current installed capacity by 51.3 GW in the coming three to five years.
The New & Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) plays a significant role in the government’s renewable energy projects. It currently has about 500 MW of wind power plants in operation and 1340 MW under implementation and development, and is anticipated to have a great impact on the development of wind power capacity. That’s why this paper will focus on the effect of the implementation of the new renewable energy strategy on the development of the economic performance in Egypt
Our research question is: How the use of renewable energy can affect the economic development in Egypt?
The importance of this topic is to find out the main effect of the adaption of renewable energy strategies on economic growth in Egypt as I selected this topic because of the large dependence of the developed countries on renewable energy, additionally, the scholars widely focused on studying this topic so it was important for me to see the effect on the economy of Egypt after adapting renewable energy and some expected results about how the renewable energy will effect Egyptian economy after applying the new strategy  of 2035.
This research question will be answered through adopting qualitative research using the available journals and articles in addition to some data sources such as, the wallet bank and IMF. In this paper I argue that the use of renewable energy in Egypt is positively corelated to achieving economic growth and increasing GDP, which is agreeing with the results obtained by scholars in previous related studies that are done on Egypt or on other countries in middle east or Europe.
II)                       Theoretical Framework
This branch is a newly developed branch. There is no explicit theory to support it yet. However, most of the empirical studies support the positive relationship between Renewable energy and economic growth. And so we can rely on the papers that investigated his relationship. In addition to this, we can rely in our study on the Dutch disease argument which advocates that the reduction of subsidies on fossil fuel energy will lead to decreasing the budget deficit of the state. And this will play a significant role in growing the economy and increasing GDP of such a country, and this will result in decreasing the unemployment rate and eradicating poverty.
III)                   Literature review
In recent years scholars started to focus widely on renewable energy that enhance the economic growth in countries all over the world, as it is widely appearing the importance of renewable energy so that, most of the countries adapt the renewable energy in order to enhance its economic growth and sustainability.
This literature review will be divided into three main trends , the first part will be concerned with the studies that show  the  effect of new and renewable energy in European countries economy, the second part of this literature review will be the middle eastern studies that focus on the effect of the renewable energy on economies of the countries , the third and the last part will focus on Egypt and how the renewable energy effects  economic growth in Egypt and what the results which the scholars achieved considering the strategies of  the renewable energy which are adapted in Egypt.
In the next paragraphs, the scholarly works - at the recent period of time - proved that the renewable energy strategies has an impressive effect on improving the economic growth of the countries in all over the world as Nicholas Apergis in 1918 studied the effect of the renewable energy on economic growth in 80 countries in the world adapting  panel data method  and the results approved that there is positive relationship between the use of renewable energy and the economic growth not only enhancing the economic growth in the countries but also improve GDP of the country.
Stamaios Ntanos, et AL in 2018, adapted a comparative study in 25 European countries in order to examine the relation between the GDP as a dependent variable and renewable as an independent variable using ARDL method to measure the relation between the GDP and Renewable energy and the significant results show the high correlation between them.
Marius-corneliu Marinas, et AL in 2018, also studied the effect of the renewable energy on achieving the economic growth in European union states and he adapted ARDL method and the results of this study showed  that the use of renewable energy  helps  to achieve sustainable development and to increase the level of the economic growth in addition to enhance the technology inside the states also the use the renewable effect on increasing employment and decreasing poverty.
Concerning middle east, Mustapha Ben Hassine, Nizar Harrathi, 2017꞉
This paper concluded that there is a positive relationship between the use of renewable energy and the increase of the GDP and exports and foreign trade in the GCC countries that have 52% of the petroleum reserves applying panel cointegration approach
Philipp Dees & Georgeta Vidican Auktor, 2018꞉
This paper used several robustness checks, causality tests and neoclassical growth function that includes capital, labor and energy use as additional input factors for analyzing the relationship between renewable energy and growth. They failed to prove a negative relationship between the two variables using the neoclassical growth function. However, causality tests were unclear. In general, they concluded that investing in renewables does not stand as an obstacle for economic growth in the middle east.
Hechmz Badrz, 2017꞉aimed to investigate the relationship between renewable energy and economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa. It performed a co-integration test and a Granger Causality test.  They found out that choosing renewable energies as substitutes helps to ensure sustainable economic growth without pollution.
Saidi Hichem, El Montasser Ghassen and Ajmi Ahdi, 2018꞉
This paper uses Cross-section dependence; Panel unit root tests; Panel cointegration tests to test the relationship between economic growth and renewable energy, while involving the institutional factor.  They discovered a strong causality between from renewable energy accompanied by institutional measures leading to growth. They have also found out that the three variables re co-integrated in the long run.
Concerning Egypt, Richard Probst, 2016 focused on studying the Egyptian and the Jordanian perspectives on renewable energy and the effect of using it on their economies and concerning Egypt it is concluded that the Egyptian government is achieving progress in the use of renewable energy while suffering from some challenges such as the lacked of innovative mechanisms
Dalia M. Ibrahiem, 2015, examined the relationship between renewable electricity consumption, foreign direct investment and economic growth in Egypt. Her study used Auto Regressive Distributed Lag (ARDL) bound testing approach over time series data from the period 1980 to 2011. The empirical findings show that the variables in the study are cointegrated indicating the existence of long-run relationship among them. Furthermore, renewable electricity consumption and foreign direct investment have a long-run positive effect on economic growth. Granger causality test showed that there exists unidirectional causality running from foreign direct investment to economic growth, in addition there is bidirectional causality between economic growth and renewable electricity consumption. This result supports feedback hypothesis. The stability of model was also checked at the end.
Perrihan Al-Riffai, Julian Blohmke, Clemens Breisinger and Manfred Wiebel, 2015, suggested that under certain conditions, fostering the national renewable energy strategy may be a promising way of giving an economy the strength that will lead to achieving development and increasing Egyptian GDP.
Finally, the last study is general not specifically adapted on certain region, Rajia alhabouby, 2018, studied the determinants of the energy regeneration and the main indicators behind this deployment of energy and she used the fixed effects model to study this determinants on 56 countries. She selected those countries according to the sup sample approach, as she selected some countries with high income while others with low income, and the results of her study shows that the high income is positively related to the regeneration of energy in all of its types whether it is renewable or non-renewable.
Accordingly, it is advocated by scholars that the adoption of energy in all of its forms especially renewable energy is positively related to the High economic growth and income increase with high GDP for the countries that is adapting this clean energy.
IV)                   Methodology
This research is a qualitative study that try to use some analysis for the effect of the renewable energy which is the independent variable on the economic development of Egypt by discussing the data and some numbers about the impact of renewable energy on growing investment and increasing jobs and hiring the GDP of Egypt through searching some Journal articles in addition of giving prediction about the economic growth that could be obtained as a result of implementing the Egyptian new strategy 2030. In order to test the hypothesis of my study꞉ ’There is a positive relationship between the increasing dependence on renewable energy and enhancing the economic growth’. This paper argues that this hypothesis is true and this argument will be supported by analyzing the economic effects that resulted from renewable energy use and predicting the effect that can happen by 2030. The results and conclusion of this paper is similar to the other results of the previous literature and the hypothesis is true.

V)                        Discussion and analysis
1.     Overview on renewable energy development in Egypt
In the middle of the increased global crises that the world is facing, countries have long been shifting their industries and economies into a more eco-friendly atmosphere to better safeguard the living of their citizens and protect mother Earth. These green strategies will not only provide a better "now" for the inhabitants of those countries, but also a prosperous future for the generations to come.
The Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt Vision 2030 was announced in February 2016 and is indicative of the country’s aspirations to achieve a competitive, balanced and diversified The Egyptian energy sector is a key driver for the socio-economic development of Egypt, representing around 13% of current GDP and thus making economic growth in the country contingent upon the security and stability of energy supply. Since 2007, Egypt has experienced an energy supply deficit due to the rapid increase in energy consumption and the depletion of domestic oil and gas resources, shifting its position as a net hydrocarbon exporter for the last three decades to that of a net importer. This has brought a set of challenges to the energy sector, including electricity shortages, caused in part by the economy by 2030 to secure sustainable development in a protected environment for all Egyptians. The strategy identified a set of targeted development indicators to be reached by 2020 and 2030, among which several indicators relate to energy and set significant renewable energy penetration targets, as depicted in the table below.
By 2030, Egypt aims to transform the country into one of the 30 largest economies in the world, one of the top 30 countries in the fight against corruption, one of the top 30 countries in the Global Competitiveness Index and the Human Development Index, and one of the top 10 countries in economic reforms. Egypt represents a solid example for linking Sustainable Development Goals to government initiatives, programs, and investment plans. Although there is still a long way to go, with dedication, perseverance, and ingenuity, Egypt can achieve the Sustainable Development Strategy: Vision 2030.
The Egyptian energy sector is a key driver for the socio-economic development of Egypt, representing around 13% of current GDP and thus making economic growth in the country contingent upon the security and stability of energy supply. Since 2007, Egypt has experienced an energy supply deficit due to the rapid increase in energy consumption and the depletion of domestic oil and gas resources, shifting its position as a net hydrocarbon exporter for the last three decades to that of a net importer. This has brought a set of challenges to the energy sector, including electricity shortages, caused in part by the economy by 2030 to secure sustainable development in a protected environment for all Egyptians. The strategy identified a set of targeted development indicators to be reached by 2020 and 2030, among which several indicators relate to energy and set significant renewable energy penetration targets, as depicted in the table above decline of domestic gas production, as natural gas is the main source of electricity, accompanied by highly subsidized energy prices, with negative financial implications for already dwindling government revenues. In response, the Government of Egypt has taken bold steps to adopt an energy diversification strategy with increased development of renewable energy and implementation of energy efficiency, including assertive rehabilitation and maintenance programs in the power sector. The deployment of renewable energy technologies is gaining momentum, such that the total installed capacity of renewable energy stands at 3.7 gigawatts (GW) (mainly 2.8 GW of hydro and 0.887 GW of solar and wind) with a commitment from the government to develop an additional 10 GW of wind and solar projects by 2022, whereby renewables would contribute to 20% of the electricity mix
The deployment of renewable energy in Egypt presents considerable opportunities for socioeconomic benefits and local value creation. Besides increasing energy security, enhancing energy access and mitigating climate change, renewable energy projects present opportunities along different segments of the value chain, including the sourcing of raw materials, manufacturing and assembly of components, construction and installation, and O&M (operation and maintenance)  . Building on its established wind market, Egypt’s electricity sector has successfully localized 30% of overall wind farm requirements. A target of 70% by 2020 has been established, along with 50% for CSP plants. For solar PV, only 30% of installed costs are spent on modules (and 10% on inverters) and the rest is on the balance of system. As such, 60% can be localized just through the balance of system which comprises construction works, mounting structures, cabling, etc. Following the installation of the project, considerable value is created in O&M (operation and maintenance). As for manufacturing, Egypt has the potential to meet a local manufacturing content of more than 80%. Egypt is considered an industrial leader in the Middle East and African markets, and it can leverage its mature steel, glass and cable industries to produce solar and wind components locally. For example, the three international float glass companies active in Egypt, Saint Gobain, Sphinx and Guardian, all have production facilities that can produce high-purity silica sand used for different industries including PV (photovoltaic) module production. In parallel, Egyptian steel companies can supply the necessary support structures for modules. Moreover, Egypt can advance its technical and human capabilities through policies that facilitate foreign domestic investments and joint ventures with multinational companies. For example, SWEG (Elsewedy for Wind Energy Generation) is generating local jobs through joint ventures in wind turbine and tower manufacturing and the production of cables and transformers. For onshore wind, one incentive for local manufacturing of bulky parts such as blades and towers is their high cost of transport and lower need for technological advancement.
In designing policies to support value creation from the development of a domestic renewable energy industry, a deeper understanding of the requirements for labor, skills, materials and equipment is needed. For solar PV, IRENA analysis shows that 56% of the total jobs are in O&M (operation and maintenance), 22% are created in manufacturing and 17% are in installation and grid connection. A large percentage of jobs created are for factory workers and technicians, which could help to alleviate unemployment in Egypt. Moreover, administrative, finance, legal and engineering jobs are created, which could be promising for college or university graduates struggling to find employment. For wind, the bulk of the jobs created are in O&M (operation and maintenance) (43%), installation and grid connection (30%), followed by manufacturing (17%). Notably, while jobs in manufacturing and installation are temporary, those created in O&M (operation and maintenance) last throughout the lifetime of the project.
The successful deployment of renewable energy depends on the existence of a workforce capable of undertaking activities through training and education policies. Since the mid-1990s, the NREA (New and Renewable Energy Authority) has organized and conducted a variety of training programs on renewable energy resource assessments, technologies and applications for Egyptian, Arab and African groups. As of October 2017, the number of trainees exceeded 5 000, with individuals originating from universities and other Egyptian organizations to those from member countries of the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE) and African countries. In the area of capacity building, the NREA (New and Renewable Energy Authority) conducted training for engineers and technicians for the newly established PV (photovoltaic) companies to obtain certification under the FIT (feed-in tariff) regulation in accordance with both national and international standards. Another initiative is the RENAC-OASIS Solar Academy Egypt (ROSAE), a partnership between the Renewables Academy (RENAC), Germany, and Oasis Renewable Energy (ORE). It has provided practically orientated training courses and capacity building in renewable energy for decision makers, consultants, engineers, installers and technicians since 2010. Most recently, in 2018, the government launched a renewable energy curriculum at technical schools to encourage specialization in renewable energy and training in solar and wind. The three-year certificate program was developed by the Egyptian Ministry of Education and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and aims to train over 300 technical school students.
2.     Effect of renewable energy on Egyptian economic growth
As the whole world is converging towards a cleaner and more sustainable environment, Egypt has been taking its first promising steps in the past few years to converge with the world. In 2030, Egypt's vision opts to have an economy that enjoys diversity, competition, sustainability and development. And with the rising prices of non-renewable energies, renewable energy has become essential in many industries. In order for Egypt to achieve its vision, renewable energy has to be integrated in the Egyptian society whether for private consumption or for production. The Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy has released the Integrated Sustainable Energy Strategy 2035 (ISES). Egypt’s sustainable energy strategy, ISES to 2035, is based on the least-cost approach, whereby energy subsidies are eliminated by 2022 and different energy sources would be able to compete within a free and fair market structure.
The strategy developed in 2014 envisages a total share of 16% for coal, 3.3% for nuclear energy and 42% for renewable energy in the installed capacity mix by 2035. The main driver for the introduction of coal in Egypt’s energy mix was a result of the 2014 electricity shortages. Nevertheless, one of the main drivers for finding a solution was importing coal from abroad and how it became very costly to import it. This led to finding a rapid solution to reduce the dependency on imported gas. This is along with the environmental damage caused by fossil fuels and non-renewable energies. Decision makers witnessed a great threat regarding air pollution and CO2 emissions and a main contribution to global warming. The results are increases in temperature, thermal expansions, melting of ice and rising sea level. Climate change is a serious problem as it is threatens the human race and planet Earth. All of the living organisms are most likely to suffer from disturbances. People are already suffering from breathing difficulties. Natural habitats are already expected to face destruction. The irony of the problem is that the main reason for climate change is the human being who consumes food and drinks that require coal and fuel in production.
Not only do fossil fuels result in pollution, but also fossil fuel's prices are seemingly increasing which will make it no longer an affordable option. Therefore, fossil fuel will not remain a sustainable source because of its effect on climate change and its unaffordability. As an expected economic result, prices of fossil fuels should increase so that food production cut its dependency on it and search for an alternative for technological and management innovations. Other sources such as renewable energy and modern energy services that increase energy efficiency should be promoted. Today, the approach is more facilitated seeing falling costs for renewables, coupled with the recent natural gas discoveries and rising environmental concerns over coal generation. Towards this objective, energy and power sector strategies and plans are intended to be updated regularly to reflect new developments, which permit a share of renewables in power generation as high as 53% to be achieved by 2030.
This would also reduce and even eliminate the need for coal and nuclear-related imports, thus strengthening the country’s energy security. The overall cost competitiveness and ease of access to finance for renewables, particularly in comparison to the strenuous planning processes required for nuclear technology, could be reflected in future strategy updates. Other than that, Egypt has a competitive advantage as it has a great amount of land, sunny weather and enjoys high wind speed; this, as a consequent makes it a perfect potential for renewable energy sources. Egypt particularly has a significant competitive edge when it comes to manufacturing in different segments of renewables value chain. Through strengthening local manufacturing potentials, Egypt could liberate unnoticed socio-economic benefits such as job creation.
To promote renewable energies in Egypt such as solar energy, there are several incentives. The Egyptian government offers a lot of incentives to the solar energy production which includes exempting all renewable energy equipment & spare parts from the customs duties & sales taxes. The renewable energy will have a selling price that is in foreign currency. Also, The Egyptian government will guarantee all the financial obligations. The dramatic increase in the power demanded as well as the expanding economy and rapidly growing population in Egypt required another electricity and power supply that can cope with the generating capacity. Egypt has introduced a regulatory framework to secure 20% of its energy generation from renewable sources by 2022. 
Benban solar power project which is considered to be one of the largest solar generations in the world is created in order to meet this increasing demand as well as contributing to Egypt’s energy self-sufficiency. According to the 2018 Atlas of Solar Energy of Egypt, Benban in Aswan is one of the sunniest areas in Egypt almost all over the year. Benban solar field has been one of the leading proofs that Egypt is on the right track. Benban solar field is a solar energy field in Aswan that is promised to be the largest in the world upon the completion to operate at full capacity in 2019. Within this framework, an initiated program offering feed-in tariffs (FIT) is created to generate up to 50 MW capacities from wind or solar projects in Egypt. Benban Project isn’t created only to meet the increased demand but also to improve the climate and environmental aspect of the power sector, stimulate the development of renewable energy and bring the contribution of the solar energy in Egypt. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group and other international financial institutions have mobilized resources of $653 million to assist 13 private companies to construct their solar energy plants.
Benban has multiple of benefits when it comes to the environmental and economic aspects. It will reduce Carbon Footprint by around 2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. It will also decrease greenhouse gas emissions as if 400,000 cars are removed. It will produce clean energy that is equivalent to the consumption of 150,000 Egyptian homes. When it comes to job creation, Benban project already contributed in increasing employment through employing 10,000 work opportunities during construction and 4000 during operation.

3.     Challenges hinder the application of the Egyptian strategy
Just like any other strategy, ISES requires a lot of efficient planning and monitoring to ensure its implementation. However, there are several challenges that threaten the efficiency of implementation and the applicability of it.
  1. Most of the challenges facing Egypt in implementing renewable energies is the regulatory system.  The tediousness of bureaucracy along with the lack of technological advancements hinders Egypt's energy potential. There must be a set of laws and regulations to ensure an effective enabling environment for renewable electricity. 
  2. Since the floatation of the Egyptian pound and the depreciation of the Egyptian pound against the dollar, everything became tremendously costly for the Egyptian society.
  3. The private sector needs to find incentives to intervene; the incentives are revolving around high profit. Also, they need to witness the effective implementation of renewable energy to trust the enabling process. Otherwise, if it is not profitable, it will let the public sector solely provide it which is not efficient if the public sector is not capable of providing it. 
  4. Conventional fuel is still being used which does not only harm the environment but is also very expensive for a middle-class citizen.
  5. Currently Egypt is working on developing Benban Solar energy field in Aswan. It will provide a lot of job opportunities and enhance economic growth. It is one of the major challenges for Egypt to execute it and operate it in an efficient and advanced way.
The implementation of ISES would be better accompanied by a reduction of energy subsidies. Energy subsidies distort markets and render most of the renewable energies uncompetitive; they also contribute to Egypt’s high budget deficit. Reducing energy subsidies would not only lower the deficit but also support the development of renewable energies. While investments in renewable energy have positive growth and employment effects, their impact on the poor has been rather modest. Thus, if poverty reduction is the main policy goal, other policies that support broader-based growth and targeted social safety nets are more appropriate. Finally, it is important to stress that the implementation of a renewable energy strategy can be very challenging and complex. For example, windmills and solar panels designed for a European climate may not function well in Egypt’s desert region, where temperatures are higher and the volume of sand is a concern. If these potential caveats are carefully assessed, however, sun and wind have the potential to support economic development. Sound institutions, appropriate and lasting regulations, careful technology transfer, and cross-ministerial coordination are the keys to success. The strategies in the energy and power sectors have to be updated. By this, they will reflect the rising cost advantages and benefits of using renewables.
4.     Policy recommendations for Egyptian government
There are several recommendations that Egypt must abide by to ensure the implementation of the process. Egypt has to upgrade the current market framework that would improve project bankability. It has to perform campaigns for solar and wind energies that would spread the notion of their potential. It also has to develop the institutional factor and responsibility to develop renewable energies. Last but not least, it has to create an industry for renewable energy.
VI)                       Conclusion
Egypt’s sustainable energy strategy, ISES to 2035, is based on the least-cost approach, whereby energy subsidies are eliminated by 2022 and different energy sources would be able to compete within a free and fair market structure. The strategy developed in 2014 envisages a total share of 16% for coal, 3.3% for nuclear energy and 42% for renewable energy in the installed capacity mix by 2035. The main driver for the introduction of coal in Egypt’s energy mix was a result of the 2014 electricity shortages, with imported coal providing a rapid solution to reduce the dependency on imported gas. Today, the approach is subject to drastic change following falling costs for renewables, coupled with the recent natural gas discoveries and rising environmental concerns over coal generation. Towards this objective, energy and power sector strategies and plans must be updated regularly to reflect new developments, which permit a share of renewables in power generation as high as 53% to be achieved by 2030. This would also reduce and even eliminate the need for coal and nuclear-related imports, thus strengthening the country’s energy security. The overall cost competitiveness and ease of access to finance for renewables, particularly in comparison to the strenuous planning processes required for nuclear technology, could be reflected in future strategy updates.
 Investments in renewable energy can be beneficial for economic growth, employment, and the poor. However, the quantity and quality of those benefits depend on the natural conditions, opportunity costs of conventional energy, structure of the economy, institutional capacity to implement energy sector reform, and other factors.
Dutch disease can offset some of the positive effects brought about by an export-led renewable energy strategy. If all renewable energy planned under the Egyptian strategy is exported, it will make up around 20% of all exports by 2020. However, given the related appreciation of the real exchange rate and potential loss of jobs in other export sectors, consuming a significant amount of additional energy domestically would be more advisable.
Finally Egypt should focus on awareness campaigns and inventing new industry for renewable energy in order to overcome the challenges and threats such as inflation and depreciation of currency.



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