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Monday, 21 June 2021

USD 20 bn Saudi investment drive + more from China

KSA is planning serious investment in Egypt: Saudi Arabia could invest as much as USD 20 bn in Egypt over the next five years, Egyptian-Saudi Joint Business Council Chairman Bandar Al Ameri told Akhbar El Youm, saying the drive could bring total investments here from the kingdom and its companies to USD 50 bn. As many as 6,280 Saudi companies are currently operating in Egypt, he said, describing Egypt as a key market for Saudi investors.

One Saudi company that’s going big: Sharbatly Group aims to invest some USD 2.5 bn in several ventures in Egypt over the next five years.

This comes a week after the business council met in Cairo. There were no major announcements made following the talks, beyond the potential for a Saudi mining company to get involved in Egypt’s mining sector, new logistics centers for date exports, and agreements to “cooperate” further in a number of sectors.

Saudi Arabia isn’t our only Gulf ally stepping up investment here: The UAE is one of the biggest contributors of FDI to the Egyptian economy and in the past few years the Emirati public and private sectors alike have been buying into Egypt in a big way as the country looks to increase its investment in Egypt to USD 14 bn by the middle of the decade. In 2019, the Sovereign Fund of Egypt and ADQ agreed to set up a new platform to channel USD 20 bn of investment between the two countries, a pact that just two months later saw the Abu Dhabi sovereign fund agree to invest in four companies owned by the National Investment Bank. In 2021, Emirati real estate player Aldar Properties has announced its intention to acquire a majority stake in SODIC — one of Egypt’s largest property developers — while First Abu Dhabi Bank snapped up Bank Audi Egypt.


HSBC has supported Chinese clients investing in USD 20 bn-worth of projects in Egypt, the bank’s Egypt CEO and deputy chair Todd Wilcox told Asharq Business, but didn’t mention how much the lender is planning to dole out to cover part of the cost. Both Chinese and British investors are showing particular interest in the Egyptian market, he said, without providing further details.

BACKGROUND- China is taking the lead on some of our biggest ongoing infrastructure projects: China has become a vital partner for Egypt in delivering some of Egypt’s most important infrastructure projects and has been one of the Suez Canal Economic Zone’s biggest investors. State Construction Engineering Company (CSCEC), the world’s largest construction outfit by revenue, is taking on the USD 3 bn contract to construct the new capital’s business district, while two Chinese construction firms were named in the consortium that was last year put in charge of building the USD 9 bn high-speed rail link between New Alamein and Ain Sokhna.

CORRECTED ON 17 June 2021
— HSBC has worked with Chinese companies to “facilitate” access to financing in projects in Egypt worth a combined USD 20 bn, as well as help in other areas. The lender didn’t provide this amount in direct funding, and the projects it supported weren’t just limited to infrastructure as a previous version of this story had suggested. 


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