Field Marshal Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (R) and Managing director of Arabtec Abdullah Smeik (Photo courtesy of Egypt's army spokesman's official Facebook page)
Egypt’s military chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi will launch a new initiative to build a million housing units for low-income Egyptians, an official spokesman announced on Sunday.
Military spokesman Ahmed Ali said on Sunday that the “For Egypt’s Youth” initiative will be established through cooperation between leading UAE construction company Arabtec and the Egyptian armed forces. The collaboration is planned to continue for five years.
On Sunday, El-Sisi, who is minister of defence, met with managing director of Arabtec Hassan Abdullah Smeik to discuss the details of the project, including where the units will be built, and the time frame of the work.
“This project is the fruit of the wise guidance of [UAE’s crown prince] Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed and his concern for providing support to the current Egyptian leadership for the advancement of Egypt,” said Smeik during the meeting, adding that his company is proud to collaborate with the Egyptian armed forces in establishing “the largest housing project in the Arab region.”
Smeik added that the project will not only provide millions of low-income Egyptians with housing, but will also provide jobs for more than one million people.
The UAE, a staunch opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been a strong supporter of transitional authorities in Egypt. The Gulf state has provided Egypt with almost $7 billion in grants, loans and oil shipments since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Speaking to the Financial Times in February, Mohammed Kandil, political secretary at the Egyptian embassy in Abu Dhabi, said that the UAE is keen on having its aid used to finance “projects that have specific development or non-profit goals and are directed at poor people.”
El-Sisi, a popular figure with many Egyptians, is widely expected to announce that he will run for president in elections due to take place this spring.