In spite of the harmony between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and US president Donald Trump, economic experts believe that it’s hard to guarantee bilateral relations are going to improve and that Trump’s good personal relation with Al-Sisi doesn’t mean economic relations will improve.
According to Trump’s statements, which voice his putting America first to make it “great again,” Medhat Nafea, economic expert and member of the World Federation of Exchanges, said it is early to predict the foreign policy of the USA under Trump, especially the bilateral relations with a country.
He explained that US institutions—nonetheless of which are the legislative branch, the media, and the presidency—are in conflict with one other, and it seems like Trump has to end Americans’ domestic problems before looking into the country’s relations and foreign affairs.
“The presidency is competing with the judiciary system, the media, and even the government’s employees over who will prevail in the current US internal conflict. I believe the other institutions will win,” Nafea noted.
He added that the US economy under Trump will be more closed, especially in aid programmes and grants, which will lead to the suffering of many countries. Trump repeatedly said that to maintain domestic issues and internal affairs, he puts the American people first.
“It’s not beneficial to talk about personal relations when it comes to relations between countries,” he noted, adding that experts believed Trump’s good talks about Russian president Vladimir Putin and the bilateral relation between them will improve the US-Russian relations. Trump has since changed his tone, Nafea continued, after knowing that Russia played an illegal role in the US elections.
Nafea said that it is important to note that the Egyptian-Russian relations were good, but when the Russian aeroplane crashed in Sinai, Putin suspended all Russian flights to Egypt, despite it being a precious source for foreign currencies back then. It is not right to bet about bilateral relations between countries based on personal relations between presidents. We do not live in the age of the Pharaohs, he noted.
Nafea said that Trump is unconditionally backing Israel, which means he puts Israel at the top of any possible benefits in the region either for investments or grants.
“American investments are as any other: they need well-established infrastructures, stable and investment-attractive laws and regulations, better services, and better investment climates, all of which are currently not up to par in Egypt,” he stated.
Nafea believes Egypt cannot attract foreign investments unless it fixes its interior economic problems.
From another view point, Abou Bakr Emam, head of the research department at Prime Holding, said that knowing the direction of the relation is not granted, adding that former US president Barack Obama started his period with an amazing speech at Cairo University. In the end, however, the relation actually declined, Emam stated.
He believes that military aids to Egypt will continue, but he doesn’t believe Trump will not work on improving American investments overseas.
“Trump probably might help Egypt indirectly through credit facilities and grants,” he noted.