“This event marks an important step for Egypt. It shows that Egypt is open for business.” Those were the words of World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati as she announced a support package of $US 400 million to Egypt.
The World Bank’s words of encouragement reflected those of the International Monetary Fund, whose chief Christine Lagarde declared that “the journey to higher growth has already begun.”
At the opening ceremony of the Egyptian Economic Development Conference, Gulf States of Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates pledged a total of $US 13 billion to Egypt. The announcement came after US-based Coca-Cola pledged to invest $US 500 million over three years and the European Union declaring it would provide at least $US 400 million in support.
The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary meanwhile announced that British Petroleum had signed a $US 12 billion deal to develop oil and gas in Egypt. The deal, according to the Foreign Secretary, “is the biggest inward investment in Egypt’s history.”
Smaller investments, including $US 42 million pledged by the French Development Agency, were also promised to various sectors in Egypt, including the renewable energy sector.
Egypt has been hoping to revive its stagnant economy by holding the EEDC, which has attracted 2,500 delegates from 112 nations, including 30 heads of state.
World Leaders Take To The Stage
At the opening ceremony, Egypt’s President Sisi declared that Egypt is focusing on a sustainable long-term development strategy plan that will see unemployment being decreased by 10 percent and heavier reliance on renewable energy sources.
The Egyptian President also promised to ensure Egypt’s future is brighter, particularly for its youth, adding that social justice must be achieved.
Gulf leaders similarly took to the stage, announcing their undivided support for Egypt, with the UAE’s Vice President declaring that Egypt is the second home of the Emiratis.
African countries, including Sudan, Somalia, Mali and Tanzania also highlighted Egypt’s importance to Africa, with the Somali President asserting that “investing in Egypt means investing in Africa.”
“The Nile constitutes a common destiny: we either sink or swim together. You know, Mr. President, we chose to swim together,” added Ethiopia’s Prime Minister at the opening ceremony.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas took to the stage to praise Egypt’s path to democracy and its stance against extremism and terrorism, adding that Palestine knows most about terrorism due to Israel’s continued occupation.
In a similar fashion, echoing words of security, Lebanese Prime Minister Salam said “investing in Egypt is an investment in Arab security.”
In Asia, China’s Minister of Commerce pledged to maintain positive relations with Egypt, adding that Chinese projects have created 10,000 job opportunities in Egypt.
Before the break of the opening ceremony, US Secretary of State John Kerry also took to the stage, declaring his support for investments in Egypt, praising recent legislative reform by the Egyptian President, including subsidy cuts.
“Egypt needs transparency for economic growth,” stated Kerry, adding that the United States is committed to supporting Egypt and its stability.
New Capital City Officially Announced
By Aswat Masriya
Egypt’s government launched on Friday a new administrative capital east of Cairo at the cost of $45 billion, during the Egyptian Economic Development Conference.
Addressing the attendees of the conference in the resort city Sharm el-Sheikh, Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouli said the capital is currently being planned with the help of Egyptian and international experts. It is expected to be build within the next five to seven years.
The new capital will be located between Cairo and the Suez Canal region, Madbouli said. He added that the location was chosen after noting that the expansion of Cairo is crawling toward the east.
The new capital would include 490 kilometre square of land available for urban development, to provide 1.1 million housing units and house 5 million citizens Madbouli said. The capital would also include 10,000 roads and a new airport.
Madbouli described the new capital as a “giant project”, adding that it is being established to “improve the quality of life for the Egyptian citizen.”
“We are talking about a world capital,” the minister said, drawing comparisons between the planned capital and international cities such as New York and Barcelona.