Egypt signs $10bn deal with Saudi Arabia to support Neom project

Egypt is seeking investment from Saudi Arabia to help develop the Suez Canal region, where Cairo wants to establish an international transport, logistics and production hub. (SPA)
Updated 06 March 2018
0

Egypt signs $10bn deal with Saudi Arabia to support Neom project

CAIRO: Egypt will allow stretches of land in the southern Sinai to be used for Saudi Arabia’s planned megacity Neom project announced by the Kingdom last October.
The agreement forms part of a $10 billion joint investment fund the two countries signed during the visit to Cairo this week by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a Saudi official.
The size of the committed land is said to be more than 1,000 square kilometers.
Saudi Arabia’s 26,500-square-kilometer Neom project is to focus on industries including water and energy, food, media, advanced manufacturing, biotechnology and entertainment.
It forms part of the country’s Vision 2030 growth strategy which aims to diversify the country away from its reliance on oil.
The project will run along the coast of the Red Sea as well as the Gulf of Aqaba. Its borders will extend across Egyptian and Jordanian borders, making it the first private economic zone to span three countries.
The megacity project plans to pioneer the latest technologies including automated driving, passenger drones, the use of robots and developing new ways of growing and processing food.
The project is expected to attract more than $500 billon of investment from the Saudi government, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) and international investors. Neom’s contribution to the Kingdom’s GDP is projected to reach $100 billion.
As part of the newly signed Egypt-Saudi joint venture, Saudi Arabia is to build seven cities and tourism projects, while Egypt will focus on developing the existing resorts of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada.
Saudi Arabia is said to be working with Egypt and Jordan on attracting more European cruise and tourism companies active in the Mediterranean to consider operating in the Red Sea as well. An official said the Kingdom was currently negotiating with more than seven tourism-related operators.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia also signed an agreement during the Crown Prince’s visit to protect the marine environment and to maintain coral reefs and beaches in the Red Sea area.
Separately, Saudi Arabia announced last August it was planning to develop 50 luxury resorts on islands and other sites on the Red Sea, backed by PIF. Construction of this development is expected to start in 2019 and be completed in 2022, according to state news agency reports.
The Crown Prince arrived in Cairo on Sunday, meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to discuss future cooperation in tackling terrorism and regional insecurity as well as how to strength business ties between the two countries.
The crown prince also met with Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II in the first such visit by a Saudi official to the spiritual center of the country’s Orthodox Christian community. He also met Egypt’s top Islamic official, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, and saw a performance at the Cairo Opera.
Prince Mohammed is scheduled to arrive in the UK on Wednesday to meet British government officials.


Disappointed fans hail improved performance by Saudi Green Falcons but defeat ends World Cup dream

Updated 21 June 2018
0

Disappointed fans hail improved performance by Saudi Green Falcons but defeat ends World Cup dream

  • A fan named Yousif, who watched the match at the General Sports Authority viewing tent, was happy that the game at least was close this time.
  • Saudi Arabia will face off against Egypt, who also lost their opening two group A games against Uruguay and Russia, on June 25.

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s World Cup dreams were shattered after Uruguay beat the Green Falcons 1-0 in the second of the three group-stage matches. Most Saudi fans in Jeddah were much happier with the team’s performance in game two, following the resounding 5-0 defeat by host nation Russia in the opening match on June 14, but still bitterly disappointed by the loss, which means they cannot qualify for the knockout stages.

Yousif, who watched the match at the General Sports Authority viewing tent, was happy that the game at least was close this time. “Although we lost, the performance was much better than the first game with Russia. I hope we win our next match,” he said.

Nasrah, who watched the game with her two sons, said: “I was really disappointed because we played good today and nothing less than a win should have been acceptable. I am also disappointed to see the looks on my boys faces when the game ended as they were hoping for a win.”

Khalid Al-Raghbi said at least it had been a good match to watch. “We played a bit better today,” he added. “I wish we would have won but at least we performed better than our last match against Russia.”

Before the game, Ibrahim Al-Turki had been optimistic about Saudi Arabia’s chances. “We didn’t expect today’s result. I was thinking that Saudi would win by two goals, and Uruguay would score one,” he said.

The result was especially disappointing given the close result and the number of chances the Saudis had to score, said Badr, who added: “I don’t know what to tell you because we are deeply disappointed. At least if we lost with a big defeat I would say we deserved it. We had the potential but we could not score.”

Shadi Al-Ghamdi said he wished the national team’s much improved performance in their second game had been more evident in their first. “I am very proud of the players, I thought they played very well. I just wish they had played like this against Russia," he said.

Safah was less complimentary and said that the Saudi players had let their fans down, adding: “They seemed scared whenever they attempted to score any goals.”

Saudi Arabia will face off against Egypt, who also lost their opening two group A games against Uruguay and Russia, on June 25. It will be the final game in the competition for both sides, with only pride to play for, as they battle it out to see who will finish third in the group and who will be left in bottom spot.