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UAE pledges $35bn to Egypt in 2 months.

Prime minister mostafa madbouly        Photo: Getty

The Prime Minister emphasized that the $35 billion injection would address Egypt's economic crisis and alleviate the foreign currency shortage. The nation struggles to secure imports, service its $165 billion foreign debt, and grapples with a dual pricing issue for the dollar—official rates versus the black market, the latter being twice as high.

Madbouly clarified that the investment stems from a Friday agreement between Egypt and the UAE to develop 170.8 million square meters in the Ras El-Hekma region. He detailed a $15 billion initial tranche, with $10 billion directly transferred and $5 billion as part of a deposit with the Central Bank of Egypt. The second batch of $20 billion, including the remaining $6 billion from the UAE deposit, will follow in two months.

The project entails constructing an integrated city, a tourist area, a large cruise ship marina, and an Emirates-managed international airport, totaling $150 billion. Egypt's foreign debts, exceeding $164.7 billion, triggered concerns, leading to JP Morgan's exclusion and Moody's downgrade from "stable" to "negative."

With an official dollar rate of around 31 Egyptian pounds versus 70 in the parallel market, external financing worries persist. Foreign debts coincide with Red Sea navigation disruption due to Yemeni Houthi attacks, affecting Suez Canal revenues by 40-50%, according to the Egyptian president.

Egypt faced a 30% decline in foreign exchange from expatriate transfers in Q1 2023-2024. Despite an IMF agreement for a $3 billion loan in 2022, only $347 million was disbursed, delayed by disputes over reforms, exchange rates, and reducing state and military economic involvement.

IMF anticipates resolving issues with Egypt's loan agreement in the coming weeks after delays in the first and second reviews last year.

Feb. 24, 2024 6:06 p.m. 1844

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