CAIRO: “A new Egypt is emerging, one built upon a comprehensive 21st-century economic vision…but there are no quick fixes for Egypt,” the UAE’s Minister of State Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, wrote in a Wall Street Journal published editorial Friday, in a reference to the anticipated leap in the country’s economy after the Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) set to kick off Friday in the resort town of Sharm al-Sheikh.
Gulf States namely the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait pledged $12 billion to Egypt in cash, deposits and petroleum shipments to support its economy after the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi following mass protests against his regime the same year.
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and the government “realize the fact that there are no immediate fixes” and “sacrifices are required”, said Al Jaber, in a reference to the tough reforms such as cutting energy subsidies, amending the tax system and slashing the budget deficit.
Many Egyptian see the conference a life buoy for a country whose economy was hit by political upheaval and violence since the January 25 Revolution in 2011. Egypt expects to sign agreements worth $20 billion at the economic summit, the Egyptian Minister of Investment told Reuters Friday.
Affirming that “Egypt’s stability is our (Arab states) stability,” Al Jaber, who is a member of the EEDC’s steering committee, said: “The United Arab Emirates, like all Arab countries, shares the inheritance of Egypt’s centuries of contributions to the region and the world.”
Applauding the reforms adopted by the government, Al Jaber said the conference will be an opportunity for Egypt’s government to showcase its significant structural reforms adopted so far and the amended investment laws and regulations in front of major global investors.
Reviewing cooperation ties between Egypt and the UAE over the past two years, Al Jaber said the two countries have been working as “close partners,” noting that a joint task force accomplished many projects which the government classifies as priority.
Egypt’s economy grew by 5.6 percent in the first half of 2014/15 FY, roughly five-fold the 1.4 percent growth achieved in the same period a year earlier, with the second quarter seeing 4.3 percent growth, Minister of Planning Ashraf al-Araby announced last week.
Acknowledging some signs of improvement in Egypt’s economic performance, and the recent positive reports from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and credit rating agencies like Fitch Ratings and Moody’s, he concluded with a call for “Egypt’s international partners to similarly demonstrate their genuine commitment to support Egypt with both words and deeds.”