Egypt-UAE: Cooperation without borders

Gamal Essam El-Din , Friday 28 Oct 2022

Egypt and the UAE mark 50 years of bilateral relations this week.

Al-Sisi and Bin Zayed during their meeting in Egypt s New Alamein city in August
Al-Sisi and Bin Zayed during their meeting in Egypt s New Alamein city in August

 

A two-day event in Cairo marking 50 years of bilateral relations between Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was set to kick off on Wednesday and continues to Friday under the slogan “Egypt and the UAE: One Heart”.

A statement released by Egypt’s Ministry of Planning and Economic Development on 18 October said the event would be attended by cabinet ministers and senior officials from Egypt and the UAE, and 1,800 Egyptian and Emirati public figures and celebrities including politicians, businessmen, investors, intellectuals, creators, and media professionals. The first day would be dedicated to discussing economic relations with the participation of ministers, senior officials and business leaders from the two countries while the second day would focus on cultural relations.

The forum, the statement added, will also review Egyptian and Emirati companies’ “success stories”.

Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala Al-Said said the event reflects the depth of bilateral relations between Egypt and the UAE and the keenness to push these relations forward.

“The event is an opportunity to promote relations with the UAE across all sectors and build a model of Arab brotherly relations for all Arab countries to follow,” said Al-Said.

“There are tens of joint investment opportunities between the two countries in sectors like health, pharmaceutical production, real estate and infrastructure projects, financial services, digital transformation, agriculture and food industries.”

Al-Said said Egypt was particularly interested in using the event to open new fields of joint investments with the UAE.

“Though we already have investment cooperation through Egypt’s Sovereign Fund for Investment and Abu Dhabi Holding Company under a protocol signed by the governments of the two countries in 2019 to implement development and economic projects estimated at $20 billion, plenty of investment opportunities between the two countries remain, including in healthcare, pharmaceutical manufacturing, food processing, agriculture, and green and environmental conservation projects.”

Al-Said concluded by stating that “we count on the promising opportunities of cooperation between the two countries to achieve a prosperous future for our two peoples, in line with the directives of the political leadership of both Egypt and the UAE”.

Figures released by the UAE’s Ministry of Cabinet Affairs showed that the volume of non-oil trade between Egypt and the UAE hit more than $3.2 billion between January and May 2022, up from $2.9 billion during the same period in 2021.

Non-oil foreign trade between the two countries during 2021 reached more than $7.5 billion, with a growth rate of 7.4 per cent compared to 2020.

The UAE’s Ministry of Cabinet Affairs noted that “the UAE is Egypt’s second largest trading partner at the Arab level while Egypt is the fifth largest Arab trading partner of the UAE in intra-non-oil trade and holds seven per cent of its total non-oil trade with Arab countries.

“The UAE is the largest Arab investor in Egypt and the third globally, with a cumulative investment balance between 2003 and 2019 of more than $28 billion (102 billion dirhams), with more than $9 billion worth of direct investments and with 1,300 Emirati companies operating in various fields and projects in Egypt, including wholesale and retail trade, transport, warehousing and logistics, the financial sector and insurance activities, information and communication technology, real estate, construction, tourism, agriculture and food security.

“In 2021, the value of Emirati investments in Egypt climbed to $30 billion (AED 110 billion) and is expected to increase due to the ongoing cooperation between the two countries.”

UAE’s Minister of Cabinet Affairs Mohamed Al-Gergawi explained that the event’s second day Cultural and Media Forum would see the participation of intellectuals, media professionals, and prominent creative personalities and celebrities from the two countries.

“Relations between Egypt and the UAE represent a distinguished model for brotherly ties between two Arab countries, based on integration and common interests,” said Gergawi.

“Ties between Egypt and the UAE are not limited to the diplomatic and leadership level but also operate at the level of the peoples of the two countries. The UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, laid the strong foundation for the brotherly relationship with Egypt and today, thanks to UAE’s President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, brotherly relations between the two countries have become stronger, deeper, and more prosperous.”

Al-Gergawi also revealed that the second day of the event will honour figures who have played a prominent role in pushing Emirati-Egyptian relations forward.

“The Cultural and Media Forum will highlight the most important milestones in the UAE-Egypt relationship in the field of media, culture, arts, and common history. There will be sessions on sports, media and cultural topics, in addition to dialogues and discussions between Emirati and Egyptian diplomats and media professionals from the government and private sectors in the two countries.

“One of the UAE’s key policies is to support culture and arts in various countries, especially Egypt where the UAE supported the Library of Alexandria by providing a donation of $21 million.”

Um Kalthoum in Abu Dhabi, a concert organised during the first day of the event, celebrates the fact that in November 1971, a few days ahead of the declaration of the independence of UAE, Egypt and the Arab world’s great singer visited Abu Dhabi to give a performance marking the country’s independence.


*A version of this article appears in print in the 27 October, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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