President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has launched the construction of a $US4.0 billion ($A4.3 billion) "new Suez Canal" that aims to speed up traffic along the existing waterway and boost Egypt's battered economy.

The project foresees the creation of one million jobs at a time when Egypt is struggling to recover from more than three years of political turmoil since the ouster of long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Sisi, accompanied by government ministers and army generals, on Tuesday set an ambitious target of digging…