Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and President Abdel Fatah a-Sisi – Reuters/ File Photo
CAIRO – 6 March 2018: A new era of economic ties between Egypt and Saudi Arabia saw the light of the day as a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding in various investment projects and environmental protection were signed between the two sides over the last three days.
In his first ever official trip, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Cairo where he met the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, accompanied by a number of high-profile Saudi officials.
According to Egypt's Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation, the two Arab sides agreed to boost cooperation in the fields of mega investment and development projects.
The main agreement was an amendment to an earlier deal to set up a $16 billion Egyptian-Saudi investment fund between the Egyptian Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation and the Saudi Public Investment Fund "PIF" to inject Saudi investments in a number of projects across the Egypt's governorates.
The new fund aims to construct a power plant in Dairout worth $2.2 billion, a water treatment plant, residential projects in Sinai, 90 kilometers of development of coastal road, Taba’s tunnel project and a canal.
It will also finance the development of the Egyptian side of Neom mega-city and a free economic zone — a project unveiled by the crown prince last year as part of his plans to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from its dependence on oil.
Egypt would allocate more than 1,000 square kilometres of land to the project in the South Sinai governorate.
The mega-city, with its own judicial system and legislation designed to attract international investors, is to focus on industries such as energy and water, biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing and tourism, according to officials.
The deal to build a mega-city comes just three weeks ahead of a presidential election in Egypt, with Sisi looking to secure a second term in office.
Riyadh and Cairo also signed an environmental protocol on Sunday aimed at preserving the Red Sea’s coral reefs and preventing “visual pollution”.
The new agreements come in the framework of the Egyptian government's plan to boost economic development in Egypt by stimulating foreign direct investment, focusing on the development of the poor governorates to achieve an economic boom that will improve citizens' living conditions by offering jobs and increasing economic activities.