UAE and Egypt launch $20bn joint investment platform

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi also receives the country's highest civilian honour during visit to Emirates

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The UAE and Egypt will establish a $20 billion (Dh73bn) investment fund, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed announced on Thursday.

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces launched the fund, along with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi, during Mr El Sisi's two-day visit to the Emirates.

The joint investment fund will implement social and economic projects for both countries.

"Together with my brother, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi we launched a joint strategic investment platform between the UAE and Egypt worth $20 billion to implement vital economic and social projects for our brotherly countries," Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed said on Twitter.

The Crown Prince also bestowed the Order of Zayed, the UAE's highest civilian honour, on Mr El Sisi at Qasr Al Watan. The Egyptian president now joins other global leaders such as Russia's Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Jinping in having been afforded this honour. Other deals struck between both countries included measures to prevent tax evasion, insurance issues and employment.

It was a day of pomp and ceremony in Abu Dhabi. Mr El Sisi arrived at the palace just after midday, flanked by a guard of honour as the Al Fursan aerobatic team soared overhead. Egyptian and UAE flags fluttered in the breeze.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - November 14, 2019: HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces (R), confers the Order of Zayed medal to HE Abdel Fattah El Sisi, President of Egypt (L), during a state visit reception at Qasr Al Watan.

( Hamad Al Mansoori for the Ministry of Presidential Affairs )

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed confers the Order of Zayed medal to Abdel Fattah El Sisi, President of Egypt. Ministry of Presidential Affairs

It was Mr El Sisi’s second visit in less than two years and underlines the strong relationship between the two countries. Sheikh Mohamed welcomed Mr El Sisi to his “second home”.

"The relations between the UAE and Egypt are historical and strategic and are based on trust and understanding,” said Sheikh Mohamed, noting that the late President Sheikh Zayed considered Egypt as the heart of the Arab region.

"Egypt's security is as important as the UAE's security, and its progress, development and stability are important to the UAE and all Arab countries. Confronting the challenges and risks facing the Arab region requires intensifying the ongoing consultations between our countries and joint Arab action," he said.

Mr El Sisi was accompanied by a high-level delegation including Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry, Maj Gen Abbas Kamel, chief of the Egyptian General Intelligence; and Sharif Al Badawi, Egyptian Ambassador to UAE.

Ties between both countries are deep and historic. Sheikh Zayed met then Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat in Cairo in 1970, and again in 1971 when the UAE was established. Sheikh Zayed supported Egypt in the 1967 war with Israel and in 1973.

Formal support from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development began in 1974 and by 2009 Cairo had ranked the UAE as the leading foreign government investing in Egypt. About 10 years later, the UAE and Egypt established a strategic partnership to boost the performance of the Egyptian administration.

Since Hosni Mubarak stepped down amid huge protests in 2011 to Mr El Sisi taking power in 2014, the UAE has consistently supported Egypt. Mr Al Badawi praised the UAE for standing by Egypt during the past few years.

As many as 400,000 Egyptians live in the UAE, with many playing a key role in helping to build the country. Egyptian City planner Dr Abdulrahman Maklouf, for example, helped to draw up an early master plan for Abu Dhabi. Since those days, countless Egyptians have lived and worked in the UAE in sectors such as education, engineering and hospitality.

Both leaders also discussed the regional situation. Sheikh Mohamed said the two countries are fighting against extremism, terrorism and attempts to threaten peace and security.

"Egypt is a key country in the Arab region and is one of the cornerstones of Arab security," said Sheikh Mohamed.

Mr El Sisi, meanwhile, expressed his happiness at visiting the UAE and stressed that a special relationship existed between the UAE and Egypt.

He left the UAE on Thursday evening.