Egyptian Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala Al-Saeed , the CEO of the GAFI Mohamed Abdel-Wahab with Saudi officials witnessing the signing of one of the several agreements between in the GAFI headquarters on Tuesday 21 June, 2022. Photo courtesy of Egyptian Cabinet Facebook page.
The agreements, which were signed at GAFI’s headquarters, cover several fields, including petroleum, renewable energy, green hydrogen, IT, e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, and cyber security.
Among the agreements was one between Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company to produce and transmit 1,100 megawatts of wind power in the Gulf of Suez for 25 years, the statement said.
The agreements were signed by Saudi investment groups with Egyptian governmental and private-sector companies in the presence of the Saudi Minister of Trade and Investment Majed bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, the chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Saudi Chambers, the chairperson of the Egyptian-Saudi Business Council, in addition to representatives of more than 60 Saudi institutions and companies.
Representing the Egyptian side was Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohamed Shaker, and CEO of GAFI Mohamed Abdel-Wahab.
“The agreements signed today represent a qualitative leap in the investment relations between the two countries, not only in terms of the material value, but in terms of added value to the economies of the two countries to support the infrastructure, logistical, and technological sectors, which will develop the capabilities of the Egyptian economy,” Abdel-Wahab said on Tuesday.
The CEO of GAFI also referred to the newly-announced State Ownership Policy Document that highlights Egypt’ keenness to create equal opportunities, strengthen competition mechanisms, and empower the private sector.
The State Ownership Policy Document identifies the sectors from which the Egyptian state plans to withdraw, decrease, or increase its presence over the coming three years with the aim of increasing the private sector’s participation in public investments to 65 percent, up from the current 30 percent, according to previous statements by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.
The signing comes on the side-lines of the two-day official visit of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Egypt that started on Monday night when President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi received him at Cairo International Airport.
The last visit by the Saudi Crown Prince to Egypt was in June 2021, when he met the Egyptian President in Sharm El-Sheikh.
The Crown Prince’s visit — the first in a three-legged tour that will also include Jordan and Turkey — comes nearly three weeks before the Gulf Cooperation Council +3 Summit, which will be chaired by Saudi Arabia and will run from 15 to 16 July.
The summit will host the heads of state of the GCC countries, the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq, as well as US President Joe Biden, who will be making his first tour in the Middle East by visiting Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the West Bank.
Egyptian-Saudi trade cooperation
The CEO of GAFI stressed on Tuesday that organising “this important event is a reflection of the strength of the historical and economic relations that bind the two brotherly countries.”
Over the past years, Egypt and Saudi have shared warm relations in the various political, economic, security, and investment fields and have maintained continuous coordination on regional issues of concern.
The volume of trade exchange between the two countries reached about SAR 54 billion ($14.4 billion) in 2021 — its highest value in history — achieving a growth of 87% compared to 2020, according to a recent report issued by the Federation of Saudi Chambers.
Moreover, the volume of Saudi exports to the Egyptian market reached SAR 38.6 billion ($10.8 billion), and Egyptian imports to the Saudi market reached SAR 15.7 billion ($4.18 billion) — a record growth of 60%.
Furthermore, the volume of Saudi investments in Egypt amounts to more than $32 billion through more than 6,800 Saudi companies, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
During the current global crisis, Saudi Arabia has deposited $5 billion in the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), and the kingdom is expected to invest further in the country.
Moreover, prior to the war, Saudi Arabia deposited $3 billion in the CBE and extended the maturity of other deposits worth $2.3 billion that will now be paid in October 2026.