UAE, Egypt set up joint investment programme
LONDON - The United Arab Emirates and Egypt have established a $20 billion joint investment programme to develop “economic and social projects."
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan announced the plans November 14 while meeting with visiting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
“We launched a joint strategic investment platform between the UAE and Egypt worth $20 billion to implement vital economic and social projects for our brotherly countries,” Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter.
The United Arab Emirates, a traditional regional backer of Cairo, has been supportive of the Egyptian government's drive to combat terrorism and implement reforms to ensure economic and political stability.
“Egypt’s security is as important as the UAE’s security and its progress, development and stability are important to the UAE and all Arab countries,” said Sheikh Mohammed in a statement carried by the UAE state news agency WAM.
The investment programme was announced as Cairo seeks assistance to boost its sagging economy and create jobs. The project will be run through Egypt's newly established sovereign wealth fund and Abu Dhabi Development Holding Company.
Egypt's wealth fund is being touted by the government as the latest component of its economic revival. The fund is intended to help the government better utilise its assets and to attract foreign investments that have been overshadowed by an infusion of overseas cash into the local debt market.
Poor and middle-class Egyptians have borne the brunt of austerity measures since 2016 when the government secured a $12 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in exchange for economic reforms.
Nearly one-in-three Egyptians lives below the poverty line, official figures released in July indicate.
Egypt’s economy took a battering in the immediate aftermath of the revolution that toppled long-time President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Direct foreign investment has grown to record levels in recent years but the national debt has ballooned since the pound was floated in November 2016, leading to a sharp depreciation.
The government in May raised electricity rates 15% as part of belt-tightening measures under the IMF programme.
In April, the IMF forecast the Egyptian economy would expand 5.5% this year and inflation should slow to 14.5%.
(With news agencies)