Egypt hails Arabs' USD 12 bn pledge as support for Sisi

Egypt had secured billions of dollars in investment deals and aid pledges by Saturday at a conference hailed as a show of support for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his fight against jihadists.

AFP| Last Updated: Mar 15, 2015, 00:20 AM IST

Sharm El Sheikh: Egypt had secured billions of dollars in investment deals and aid pledges by Saturday at a conference hailed as a show of support for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his fight against jihadists.

Among the deals was 4 billion euro (USD 4.2 billion) agreement with German conglomerate Siemens for a 4.4 gigawatt power plant in the energy-starved country, and an additional 2 gigawatts in wind power, a company spokesman said.

Another possible 6 billion euros are in the pipeline with memorandums of understandings inked for more power plants.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates each offered USD 4 billion yesterday, the first day of the conference attended by hundreds of business and political leaders in the coastal resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

Sisi, who ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and brutally crushed his supporters, has sought to persuade allies that his country is on the front lines of a war against regional militants.

He has called for building a unified Arab force to fight the Islamic State group that has captured territory in Iraq and Syria, and which commands an affiliate in Egypt.

Cairo has already carried out air strikes against the jihadist group inside Libya, where IS also appears to have gained a foothold.

Planning Minister Ashraf el-Arabi said the Gulf nations' pledge showed their support was "political, and this political support is very important in this phase".

"I believe that the message is clear that most of the world is supporting Egypt in building the new Egypt," he told AFP.

"The (funding) announcement... Makes us very comfortable, and it is a certificate of trust that Egypt will develop and become better than before."

About 100 countries and international organisations are attending the three-day conference aimed at attracting billions of dollars for Egypt's economy, which has been battered by years of political turmoil.

Sisi, who has positioned himself as a bulwark against jihadists, said investing in the Arab world's most populous country would help stabilise the entire region.

Egypt's stability "is a cornerstone in regional stability," he told the conference.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who met Sisi and the leaders of Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, told business people Friday that Washington was "eager and ready and willing" to help Egypt's economic development.