CAIRO: Egypt received promises for $12.5 in investment on the first day of the Egypt Economic Development conference Friday in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates each pledged $4 billion to Egypt; $1 billion of the Saudi commitment, and $2 billion of the Emirati investment is a deposit in the Central Bank of Egypt. Oman pledged $500 million.
In the opening session, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi thanked late Saudi King Abdullah for calling for the conference, and said that Egypt has applied legal reforms to improve the investment atmosphere.
“Egypt’s great diversity meets the ambitions of all investors,” said Sisi, who noted that Egypt has a 30-million strong labor force.
Sisi’s speech, and that of a number of those who took the podium, mentioned the importance of funding Egypt’s economy as a means to fight terrorism and extremism. “Egypt is the first defense line for many,” said the president.
“There is absolutely no question that the emergence of a strong, prosperous, democratic Egypt is critical for the development of a strong and prosperous region,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who led the American delegation.
The long-awaited conference will break into sessions Saturday and Sunday with leaders and heads of state.
In an interview with Reuters Friday morning, Investment Minister Ashraf Salman said he expected between $15 billion and $20 billion in investments during the summit.