UAE backs recovery plan of Egyptian economy, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber tells al-Ahram daily

DUBAI: Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State has underlined that the cooperation ties between the UAE and Egypt were deep-rooted, citing that since the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan had established the relations, they remain strong, thanks to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on sustaining the relations.

He added the cooperation with the Egyptian government would continue so as to complement the future roadmap that aims to restore stability to Egypt to exercise its significant role in the Middle East.

Al Jaber told Egypt’s leading Arabic language daily ‘al-Ahram’ in an interview ahead of his visit to Egypt that “the UAE backs an integrated recovery plan for Egypt’s economy to restore it back to sustainable growth track”, adding that “The UAE is ready to cooperate fully to push forward the economic growth in Egypt.” He noted that there were trends to attract more investments in Egypt. “When we talk about huge country as Egypt details need some time,” he said.

Al Jaber said the UAE encourages investors from both public and private sectors in the UAE and worldwide to implement investment projects in Egypt, citing that the investment of UAE private sector companies in Egypt stood at over $7 billion. He added the UAE- Egyptian relations are very strong in all political, economic, social and cultural areas, noting that his frequent visits to Egypt come in line with the directives of the UAE leadership.

Regarding the joint military exercises between the two countries, Al Jaber said the military cooperation dates back to October war, noting that the Zayed I Exercises “is one aspect of the strategic cooperation that contributes to development of the UAE and Egyptian armies as well as upgrade skills and open new avenues of cooperation to safeguard security of the region.

Al Jaber referred to a statement of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces when he met the Egyptian delegation that “the UAE’s support is not aimed at a certain political stream against another, but aims to back Egypt to restore its pivotal role in the Middle East.” He said during his meeting with the new Egyptian Prime Minister Eng. Ibrahim al-Mahlab, “We discussed progress of the projects being implemented by the UAE in Egypt. I pledged full cooperation regarding whatever it takes to push the economic growth forward.”

Al Jaber said the UAE implements infrastructure, construction related to housing, education, health, and food security projects and others. The two sides also agreed to meet the needs of greater category of Egyptian people in different areas. The UAE minister said the work has began to build 13, 000 residential units in 6th October district to absorb about 80, 000 people in the first phase out of overall construction of 50, 000 residential units. He noted that the project would solve the housing problem and activate the construction sector, as well as provide job opportunities for workers.

He said over 120, 000 people will get jobs in the construction projects.

In the area of education, Al Jaber said “We are building 100 schools to provide the education services to 67, 000 students. On the area of health, the Sheikh Zayed Hospital has been opened and plans are underway to produce vaccines and build 78 clinics, which will benefit 780, 000 people and bridge gap of 20 per cent of the shortage in the clinics.” Regarding the infrastructure projects, he said the sewerage network projects have been commenced at 151 villages and would benefit 1.7 million people. About the food security, Al Jaber said work is underway to build the warehouses to store 1.5 million tonnes of wheat and flour to save 2.4 billion Egyptian pounds lost annually because of bad storage system.

Regarding the area of energy, he said the renewable energy projects would be implemented at villages not linked to electric network grid. The UAE provided fuels to Egypt from July – December 2013 and during the first quarter of 2014 to sustain the economic growth and activities.

Al Jaber said during the UAE- Egyptian Investment Forum co-sponsored by the UAE and Egypt last December, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development and the Social and Development Fund of Egypt. In accordance to the deal, the Khalifa Fund will provide $200 million for development small enterprises in Egypt to improve conditions of people, provide jobs for youth and improve conditions of women.