Egypt will press for more investment from Saudi Arabia during the sixth Saudi-Egyptian Coordination Council meeting scheduled to take place on Thursday in Cairo, according to a source from the Egyptian cabinet.
Egypt’s Minister of Investment Dalia Khorshid told Daily News Egypt that Egypt is working to form a team that would resolve problems facing Saudi companies operating in Egypt, in a bid to reassure the financial and business communities in Riyadh.
In recent meetings, Khorshid has explained to Saudi delegations that the Ministry of Investment will act as a mediator between Saudi investors and Egyptian government authorities and agencies in the event of a dispute.
Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud will meet President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo Thursday ahead of the coordination meeting to discuss Saudi investments in Egypt.
Saudi King Salman is scheduled to visit Cairo for two days, marking his first official visit since being anointed.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia formed a coordination council after the Saudi monarch announced that his country will allocate investments worth SAR 30bn to Cairo in December 2015.
According to a source in the General Authority for Investments, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, a number of Saudi companies with capital holdings of billions of pounds were recently established, and they are currently being issued licenses to work in the Egyptian market, which includes projects in the Suez Canal Area Development Project area.
There have been a number of agreements signed by Saudis investors working in Egypt, including the Sharbatli family and Sheikh Saleh Kamel, to cooperate to establish joint ventures worth more than EGP 1bn. These agreements are expected to be announced Thursday, according to the source.
The source added that Saudi investors pledged to invest US dollars in Egypt, to supplement Egypt’s current deficit in foreign currency reserves, which fell to $16.5bn and is down from $36bn in 2010.
Egypt is suffering from a shortage in foreign currency resources due to decline in revenue from tourism, the Suez Canal, and foreign direct investment.
Saudi-Egyptian Coordination Council has met five times in Cairo and Riyadh. However, the parties have not signed an agreement pertaining to any projects.
The parties are expected to sign 24 agreements and memoranda of understanding (MOU) at the coordination council’s sixth meeting.
According to a source from the Ministry of International Cooperation, the expected agreements will vary between across several economic sectors, such as electricity, housing, education, marine transportation and ports, culture, health, radio and television, and agriculture.
The two sides will also sign a loan worth $1.5bn, which will be allocated for the development of a university in Sinai and which comes from a total $6bn pledged by a number of Saudi funds to finance development projects in Sinai over the course of three years.
The Sinai region will acquire about 50% of the anticipated agreements, including the establishment of the Development Road, which will be 90 km long, and two agricultural and residential projects.