UAE proves it’s Egypt’s friend in progress

GCC support to Egypt didn’t stem from emotions, but is based on a vision for the region.

Published: Sun 14 Jun 2015, 8:59 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:15 PM

A year has passed since Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi came to office under difficult circumstances. The situation was critical when he sworn in as president of Egypt in June, 2014, because no one could then predict how things would go amid with economic, security and political uncertainty looming over the country.

Despite the difficulties, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, along with Kuwait and Bahrain stood behind the Egyptians, who considered the support as the light that illuminates a difficult path or a spinnaker that helps Egypt’s ship sail to the future.

Egypt’s internal stability was in a shambles last year, there was a sharp decline in foreign currency reserves, basic services had deteriorated, and the West had taken a hostile stance against the new Egyptian leadership. Urgent action was needed to face the challenges that required wisdom and intelligence to avoid things spinning out of control.

GCC support to Egypt didn’t stem from emotions or a passion to help an Arab population in danger, but it was based on a vision for the future of Egypt and the region. After President Al Sisi’s election, there was an ‘‘urgent solutions” phase to setting the building blocks for a ‘‘new Egypt’’ . This coincided with the UAE’s announcement of a complete vision to support Egypt’s economy, with a main objective of reaching citizens from across the country and raise the level of basic services offered to them, especially in the fields of housing, education, health care, transportation and infrastructure.

This vision made Egyptians believe how special relations are between Egypt and the UAE. It is firmly rooted from the time of the wise late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and continues to flourish until today.

In March, the outcomes of the Egypt Economic Development Conference exceeded all expectations, especially with the announcement of new financial aid packages that included grants, bank deposits and investments. All this helped in reviving the Egyptian economy and put it on the right track towards achieving full recovery.

With UAE help, four bridges have been built, 41 railway level crossings have come up, 78 health care units in 23 governorates to serve 780,000 citizens have been established. By the end of the year 100 schools will be built in 18 governorates to accommodate 75,000 students.

Moreover, the first batch of students of the vocational training program, which aims at manpower development and raising the efficiency and skills of individuals by providing vocational training to 100,000 persons per year, have graduated, and there is a project underway to build 25 silos for grain storage in 17 governorates.

As for transportation projects, 600 new buses have started operation in Greater Cairo, serving about 600,000 passengers every day.

There is also a project to feed 70 remote villages with solar-generated electricity, saving up to 19 million liters of diesel fuel, which represent 4 per cent annual diesel consumption in Egypt.

Last week, the Egyptian government announced offering 13,000 housing units within the framework of the protocol signed with the UAE to finance the establishment of 50,000 housing units to be completed by the end of this year. This is in addition to implementing 45 sewage projects in 45 villages by the end of this month.

All those projects have helped, without a doubt, to increase Egyptians’ trust in their leadership, and paved the way for more stability. The new Suez Canal project which is being built in partnership with an Emirati company, is a successful example of the determination and will of nations to defy the odds, no matter how difficult they could be.

Dr Ahmed Mokhtar is the managing editor of Al Ahram Al Massai

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