CAIRO: This is the sixth visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Cairo, and the second since he assumed the post of crown prince in June 2017. The last time he visited, in March of this year, there was a flurry of bilateral agreements involving billions of dollars in investment projects.
These agreements are only part of the strength of the two countries’ strategic relationship, but they reflect a wider reality. Saudi investments in Egypt are growing at a rapid pace.
The Kingdom is quickly becoming the largest Arab investor in the Egyptian market, and the second largest foreign investor in general, accounting for 11 percent of total foreign investment in Egypt.
Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar said that the visit of the Saudi crown prince to Egypt was very important given the expansion in economic relations between the two countries.
“There is no doubt that the visit will contribute to the realization of the vision of the two governments to increase the volume of trade and to become a major economic market in the region,” Nassar said in a statement.
Under a $10-billion deal signed in March, Egypt agreed to develop land south of the Sinai to be part of Neom, the high-tech economic mega-city, a pillar of the crown prince’s Vision 2030. The $500-billion zone will span the borders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, with Egypt committing more than 1,000 square kilometers of land in the southern Sinai.
An Egyptian-Saudi investment fund was also set up, with a total of $16 billion being pumped into Saudi investment projects in a number of Egyptian governorates.
The projects will be selected from Egypt’s investment map prepared by the Egyptian Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation in coordination with other ministries and government agencies.
As for private-sector investments, the Saudi-American Entertainment World group has allocated $3.3 billion for the establishment of a Disneyland in the new city of Alamein, while Saudi Arabia’s Sharbatly Group has announced the investment of $2.15 billion in tourism projects in the Red Sea and cement sector.
In late October, the Saudi-Egyptian Trade Mission, organized by the Saudi Export Development Authority (SEDA), held an event with the participation of 60 Saudi companies and 28 Egyptian companies from the food and construction material sectors.
Saudi Arabia aims to promote its products and services to help local exporters find new markets, including Egypt, getting to know the needs of consumers and customers there.
Earlier this month, Egypt’s Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities Dr. Mostafa Madbouly witnessed the signing ceremony of the purchase agreement for a 2,250 MW power station project in Luxor between the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Co. and Saudi ACWA Power.
This came in the presence of the Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Dr. Mohamed Shaker El-Markabi, the Saudi Ambassador to Cairo Osama Ahmed Nugali, and the president of ACWA Power, Mohammed Abdullah Abunayyan.
At the time, Abunayyan affirmed that Egypt has become a platform to attract investment from different countries of the world under the leadership of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, where international companies are racing to be the cornerstones of various development projects in Egypt.
He pointed out that during the Future Investment Initiative Conference in Riyadh, Egypt’s experience during the past five years in achieving economic growth received great praise, as well as praise for its future plans to achieve more positive indicators in the economy.
Also earlier this month, Ibrahim Al-Arabi, vice president of the General Union of Chambers of Commerce and president of the Cairo Chamber, received Anwar Ayed bin Hasouseh, the commercial missionary at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, to discuss ways to support Egyptian-Arab economic and investment relations in general, and with Saudi Arabia in particular.
Al-Arabi stressed the need to develop Egyptian-Saudi relations in the fields of trade and investment, especially in light of the good economic transactions between the two countries.
He said that there are great foreign investment opportunities in Egypt that need to be promoted.
Bin Hasouseh stressed that the organization of bilateral meetings between businessmen, importers and exporters in the two countries and their participation in exhibitions will help to develop their investment and economic opportunities.
He said that the purpose of his visit to the Cairo Chamber was to support bilateral relations and increase the volume of trade exchange between the two countries as well as at the Arab level during the next stage.