The generous $4.9bn aid package recently sealed between Egypt and the United Arab Emirates will most likely be followed by similar gestures from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi said in a press conference in Abu Dhabi, concluding his three-day visit to the Gulf country.
The UAE announced through its official news agency WAM on Saturday the aid package which aims to support the North African developmental programme and includes a $1bn deposit has been transferred to Egypt’s Central Bank last July. The package also includes more than $1bn worth of petroleum products, which is directed to meet domestic demands, WAM said.
Al-Borsa published the details of the development projects included in an agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which was signed on Saturday and is worth $4.9bn. Contained in these projects are plans to build 25 silos, which are to store up to 60 tonnes of wheat and grain, each. This project would contribute to the protection of crops and limit the possibility of spoiling in order to increase food security.
Also included in these projects are plans for 79 basic health care units (family medicine) in areas that currently lack access to these services as a way to broaden the scope of health care services for the Egyptian people. That is in addition to the establishment of two locations for the production of vaccines, which will increase self-sufficiency to 80% in this vital field.
The establishment of 50,000 residential units with infrastructure and services was also included; their building would be in stages. The construction of 13,000 units has already begun in 6 October City.
Electrical services from renewable energy projects will also be provided to a group of villages, zones, and neighbourhoods that are not connected to the power grid, in order to contribute to the revival of the countryside and provide basic services to remote areas. Further, the sewer system will be expanded in a group of villages to limit the spread of disease and secure a healthy living environment.
In the education sector, 100 public and trade schools are to be built and will be distributed across the Egypt to lower the illiteracy rate, relieve the pressure on the current schools and prepare the next generation for work in the future job market. The projects also include construction of 479 railroad crossings (barriers) to prevent the repetition of tragic accidents that are a result of losing these barriers.
Aid for buildings and services at Al-Azhar University and the Egyptian Orthodox Church are also included in the agreement, as is the provision of 600 buses to improve public transportation.
On this occasion, the Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi was quoted saying: “In the name of the Egyptian People, we give many thanks to the leadership, government, and people of the United Arab Emirates for standing by Egypt’s side and supporting the hopes and aspirations of its people. The special relationship between the brotherly counties goes back more than four decades and will continue to develop and flourish in the framework of friendship and respect for the interests of both nations.”
He added: “I would like to point out here that the signing of this agreement is merely to bestow official recognition to already existing cooperation during the last few months, in which work continued between councils and parties from both sides. Execution for a number of these projects has already begun and an announcement of the beginning of what remains will follow in upcoming months.”
He concluded with: “The launch of this work prior to the signing of the agreement is evidence of the secure links that tie Egypt to its brothers and sisters in the Emirates. Likewise, I wish to affirm here, the continued effort of the Egyptian government to secure the needs of the Egyptian people. We will, with God’s Permission and our brothers and sisters’ help, be able to remain loyal to our commitments.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Cooperation Dr Ziad Ahmed Bahaa El-Din was quoted saying: “We have exerted great effort for the last two months to work with our brothers and sisters in the UAE, who have concentrated on reaching a list of necessary projects to be executed to improve the conditions of the largest swath possible of the people, as fast as possible. I want to praise the great professionalism that we saw from the Emirati side, which never hesitated to provide the sought aid. We thank our brothers and sisters in the UAE for standing with us and we affirm the commitment of the Egyptian government to raise the level of services and to execute more development projects across the Republic.”
Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jabr said: “Building on the instructions of the wise leadership of the UAE, we studied all possible paths to provide aid that would immediately achieve benefits for all levels of Egyptian society in order to revive the Egyptian economy and guide it towards sustainable development. This is not strange for the continued brotherly relations between both governments and both peoples that go back over forty years since Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God forgive him and rest his soul, laid the foundation, based on trust, transparency, friendship, love, and shared respect that continues today in the shadow of the instructions of our wise leadership.”
He confirmed that the signing of the agreement reflects the UAE’s commitment to provide all facets of aid to the Egyptian people to help them transcend the current transitional period and to achieve stability, security, and assurance. This, he said, comes from the UAE’s belief in the importance of Egypt’s return to its pivotal role in the Arab world.
He added that: “We have worked during the last few months, in two balanced trajectories, to determine the projects and the feasibility of their execution. We have sought to determine the economic and strategic quality and benefits of these projects to the economy and Egyptian people in the long-term. The aid programme includes the commission of strategic studies for economic revival. Here, I wish to thank all participants from both Egyptian and Emirati sides for the combined efforts and commitment to seriously work and focus on accomplishing this with maximum speed.”
A group of these projects has already been executed, such as the improvement to Manshiet Nasser neighbourhood. It included 8,000 residential units with all of the necessary amenities and services provided, including a medical centre, three mosques with a 300-person capacity, one mosque with an 800-person capacity, an event hall, two health care units, three day care centres, a post office, a civil registry, a commercial centre with 78 stores, ten markets with 133 stores, two specialised education buildings, a primary school with 55 classrooms, complete with furniture, equipment and labs and a secondary trade school with 30 classrooms complete with furniture, equipments, labs and workshops. Also included in the project are plans for infrastructure, such as a sewer system, electric grid to increase electrical capacity, a water treatment centre, a new road system with light poles to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and finally, the Sheikh Zayed Hospital, which recently opened its doors.
Likewise, construction of 13,000 residential units has begun as part of the plan to build 50,000. The first 13,000 in 6 October City will be able to absorb 80,000 people, which will contribute to solving the house crisis, in addition to stimulating the real estate sector by returning companies and realtors to work.
The number of workers in the companies operating in the 6 October phase is estimated to be nearly 10,000; this number does not include the workers in companies that provide construction materials like steel, cement, wood, ceramic, etc. This means that the total number of individuals that benefit from the work opportunities related to the construction activities reaches 120,000.
The UAE, in addition to aid projects included in the agreement, gave the Central Bank of Egypt a $2bn loan without interest. This is in the framework of the historical, brotherly relations that connect the UAE to Egypt which are distinguished by love, trusted cooperation and the strengthening bilateral partnerships in all fields that contribute to achieving the hopes and aspirations of both countries.
Translated from Al-Borsa Newspaper http://goo.gl/gGOL9U