Kingdom, Egypt widen economic ties in line with Vision 2030
Economists are unanimous in their praise for the investment agreements signed between the Kingdom and Egypt. The agreements involve constructing seven maritime and tourist attractions in the planned NEOM project, building 50 resorts on the Red Sea and four small cities in the Red Sea project, besides other projects along the Egyptian and Jordanian borders. They pointed out that it is a major accomplishment to locate a project across the wide Egyptian and Jordanian borders, including Sharm Al-Sheikh, Hurghada, and Aqaba.
Saudi economist Fadl Al-Buainain told Al-Riyadh Arabic newspaper that establishing a joint investment fund between Egypt and the Kingdom with a total capital of US$ ten billion equally was one of the key economic outcomes of the Crown Prince visit to Egypt. The fund will also be used for the development of South Sinai. It will also help the Egyptian side complete the NEOM project. The agreement provides for the development of resorts and tourist attractions on the Egyptian coast.
He added, “I think that this fund is one of the most important outcomes of the visit because it is targeted at achieving a number of goals. The first goal is to achieve optimal integration for the successful implementation of the project, which is currently being overseen by the Saudi side. The second goal is to develop South Sinai and to establish tourist attractions for the benefit of the people of the region. This is expected to support investment and job opportunities, along with ensuring a secure environment on which depends the overall economic revival of that region.”
He explained that the strategic partnership between the Kingdom and Egypt is fundamental to the development of the NEOM area, South Sinai, and the link between them to restructure the tourist areas in the region. This will be in the interest of both countries. In addition, Jordan will be a key participant in this huge project.
Fadl Al-Buainain added, “Among the goals of NEOM is to construct tourist attractions on the Egyptian and Jordanian beaches to achieve optimal integration among them. I believe that the construction of the tourist villages along the Egyptian coast is an important part to render the NEOM project successful at the investment level. On the other hand, tourist attractions in the region can even have positive bearings on the world’s tourist map, especially in the international cruise business. Since the area experiences warm weather, it can be a major attraction to tourists during the winter season elsewhere.
For his part, economist Dr. Iyad Al-Baroud said that, considering the warm relations between the two countries, it was only natural that the fund was formed, and that three agreements and investment memoranda of understanding were signed. This is the biggest economic consortium between the two largest Arab states, which derive their strength from the deep-rooted ties and their immense capabilities.
He added, “This was the first foreign tour of the Crown Prince since assuming his post. It was aimed at further reinforcing Saudi-Egyptian relations. It sought to promote the ambitious Saudi Vision 2030 by raising the capital of the Public Investment Fund to US$ seven trillion by the beginning of 2030, and diversifying sources of investment locally and internationally.
The Saudi-Egyptian investment fund which was established during the visit will pump Saudi investments into several projects in the governorates of Egypt. This is aimed at increasing the level of development in Egypt and creating job opportunities, besides achieving economic breakthroughs. A memorandum of understanding to activate this fund was also signed between the Egyptian Ministry of Investment and the Saudi Public Investment Fund.”
A mutual cooperation program agreement was also signed between the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones in Egypt and the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority in the Kingdom, in addition to holding workshops and investment forums that serve the interests of both countries. The two sides focused on South Sinai region and Al-Alamin City that are considered as the most attractive areas for investment and tourism internationally. The two sides also signed a memorandum of cooperation in the field of the environment protection.
Economist Dr. Iyad Al-Baroud further said that due attention was paid to the industrial sector, topped by the pharmaceutical industry, which holds much promise for the future. He asserted that all these agreements between the two countries reflected the strong solidarity between them, which could counter any political or economic threats facing the Arab region.