CAIRO: Although headlines of most local and Arab media outlets have focused on signed agreements and pledged investments at the long-awaited Egypt Economic Development Conference, currently held in Sharm al-Sheikh, western media has focused on the political background of the conference, and perceived shortcomings in the announced plans.
In its article titled “Nothing New on the Nile,” Heba Khalil and Allison Corkery of Foreign Policy said that Egypt’s new government promised an economic revolution but Egyptians are getting more of the same, pointing out a “failed economic model of Egypt’s past, which, despite impressive economic growth, only intensified poverty, unemployment, inequality, and social injustice.”
The Wall Street Journal compared between the reaction of the Gulf states pledging “$12 billion to help stabilize Egypt’s economy” and Obama’s administration which “continues to hold back providing new military assistance to Egypt,” in its fight against Islamic extremists.
The Financial Times highlighted Gulf States’ aid to Egypt as a mean to curb the influence of Muslim Brotherhood, which is considered by the “Gulf‘s conservative monarchies as a political threat.”
The Egyptian Minister of Housing’s announcement of building Egypt’s new administrative capital city made the headlines of the BBC, although BBC Cairo Correspondent Orla Guerin characterized the plan as a means “to lure Egyptians away from the chaotic sprawl of Cairo – where congestion and pollution seem as constant as the waters of the Nile.”
The Washington Post said that the gathering, “aimed at rescuing the country’s gutted economy” but was also an opportunity for el-Sissi to “put behind him criticism over the military’s 2013 ouster of Egypt’s elected president, Islamist Mohammed Morsi.”
The newspaper also referred to the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech Friday saying that he made a strong show of support for Egypt, “with only a glancing reference to rights concerns and a call for more transparency.”