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EU-Egypt investment forum: A new era of economic cooperation

1 min

Cairo witnessed the inauguration of the EU-Egypt Investment Forum on Saturday, led by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. 

Ursula von der Leyen © Mena Today 

Cairo witnessed the inauguration of the EU-Egypt Investment Forum on Saturday, led by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. 

The forum focuses on key issues such as employment, economic growth, and renewable energy, aiming to offer European businesses ample investment opportunities in Egypt.

In March, the European Union (EU) and Egypt signed a strategic partnership agreement worth 7.4 billion euros, targeting sectors like energy and migration. For Egypt, which is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis in history, this influx of funds – to be disbursed until the end of 2027 – is a much-needed relief. 

During the inauguration, von der Leyen announced the signing of the first tranche of this partnership, amounting to 1 billion euros in macro-financial assistance.

The European Commission clarified in a statement that macro-financial assistance (MFA) represents the majority of the EU's financial support to Egypt, totaling 5 billion dollars out of the 7.4 billion announced in March. 

MFA is aid provided by the EU to neighboring countries facing severe balance of payments issues, complementing assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

President al-Sissi emphasized that the forum's objective is to create investment opportunities for European companies in Egypt. Von der Leyen further announced efforts to increase European investments in Egypt by 1.8 billion euros and the signing of over 20 contracts and agreements by European companies worth more than 40 billion euros.

Egypt aims to become a clean energy hub, aspiring to be a leading exporter of green hydrogen, produced through the electrolysis of water using renewable electricity. 

Additionally, Egypt leverages its natural gas reserves to generate foreign currency revenues, especially as the EU seeks alternatives to Russian gas amidst the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The migration aspect of the EU-Egypt partnership has drawn sharp criticism from NGOs. Human Rights Watch warned that the partnership aims to "stop migrants while ignoring abuses." 

Amnesty International called for the disbursement of the 7.4 billion euros to be contingent on human rights reforms in Egypt.

Von der Leyen highlighted that Egypt's stability is crucial for the entire region, particularly given the conflicts in Gaza and Sudan and the chronic instability in Libya, all neighboring the most populous Arab country.

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