The UAE is one of the biggest investors in Egypt and trade exchange is high, according to Dahlia Hegazi, an economic expert, who called for increased efforts to boost Egypt’s exports to the UAE, as there exists a significant opportunity for further exports.
Egypt’s imports from the UAE increased to $3.311 billion in the fiscal year (FY) 2017/18, compared with $2.920 billion in FY 2016/17. Egypt’s exports to the UAE decreased to $2.512 billion in FY 2017/18 in comparison with $2.896 billion in FY 2016/17. Egypt's main exports to the UAE include appliances, furniture, fruit and vegetables, medical supplies, copper products, clothing, marble and cables.
The UAE is ranked first on the list of countries investing in Egypt, with investments estimated at $6.2 billion, spread over 868 projects in the fields of communication, banking, real estate, tourism, and information technology.
According to Hegazi, there is a flourishing and promising economic future for the UAE and Egypt, full of opportunities that have not been utilised yet. Both the UAE and Egypt are looking forward to benefitting from these opportunities. Hegazi pointed out that Egypt is keen to participate in EXPO Dubai 2020 and the Egyptian pavilion under preparation there aims to reflect both the country’s ancient civilization and the investment opportunities available in the Egyptian market.
Youmn Al-Hamaqi, a professor of economics at Ain Shams University, told 7Dnews that Egypt’s economic cooperation with UAE is at the highest level, noting, “The UAE is the top country importing from Egypt. It is one of Egypt’s main trade and investment partners.”
In October of last year, EgyptAir signed a partnership agreement contract with the UAE-based KMK Investment and the US-based Safe Ports Holdings to establish a logistics village at Cairo International Airport. The deal comes as part of the civil aviation ministry’s development strategy. In line with the deal, Emirati KMK Investment will be responsible for funding, building, and running the village, in addition to supervising EgyptAir projects for transporting goods and exports, in collaboration with the American Safe Ports Holdings.
The UAE hosts a number of Egyptian expatriates, benefitting their relations, said Al-Hamaqi, affirming how important Egyptian expatriates’ remittances are to Egypt’s economic position. Remittances from Egyptian expatriates increased during the first quarter of FY 2018/19 by 1.5%, reaching $5.9 billion, compared to $5.8 billion in the same quarter of FY 2017/18, according to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) in November last year. Remittances are one of Egypt’s main foreign currency sources, which have been on the rise since Egypt floated its local currency in November, 2016.
Egypt and the UAE are in agreement regarding their regional views and foreign policies, Al-Hamaqi noted, adding that the very strong economic relationship between them is demonstrated in the several cooperation agreements which they have signed.
Among the most prominent agreements between both countries is one signed between the Egyptian Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker on behalf of Egypt’s Electricity Holding Company and Hussein Al-Nowais of Al-Nowais Investments, an investment company based in Abu Dhabi. The agreement was signed in March, 2015 to produce energy from a coal-operated power plant.
The plant is operated by non-polluting coal with a production capacity of 2,640 megawatt to be built in the Oyoun Moussa area in accordance with international environment standards. The plant, which cost around $4.5 billion, will increase the electricity sector capacity and broaden energy resources in the near future.
There was also the signing of a cooperation agreement between the two countries in April 2014 to train 100,000 young people of both genders in the latest technological and technical programmes to meet the Egyptian market's workforce needs at a cost of LE250 million.
In October 2013, both countries signed an agreement supporting the Egyptian development programme. The UAE agreed on 4.9 billion for carrying out projects to upgrade the services sector and enhance living standards and human resources in Egypt. The country deposited $1 billion in the CBE for a period of six years to buttress the Egyptian exchange market.
The UAE also supported the Egyptian economy after the floating of the Egyptian pound. Dubai Port World, the largest port company in the world, in February, 2016 started to pay in dollars instead of the Egyptian pound for land services provided to owners and recipients of goods.