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UAE in talks to buy Egypt coastline for $22bn 

February 6, 2024 at 12:03 pm

A beach in Egypt’s Sidi Abdel Rahman, North Coast [Zeinab Mohamed/Flickr]

The United Arab Emirates has expressed an interest in buying the Ras El Hekma area on Egypt’s northern coast as a form of economic support for Cairo, Egyptian newspapers have reported.

The privately-owned Egyptian newspaper Al Mal stated on Sunday that the anticipated project for the development of the city of Ras El Hekma in the north coast includes the finalisation of agreements between the Egyptian Ministry of Housing and several Emirati sovereign entities, most notably the Ministry of Finance. The partnership contracts will be based on in-kind and cash contributions, with the Emirati party paying around $22 billion in exchange for purchasing land in that area.

Similarly, the Egyptian newspaper Al Youm Al Sabea, which is close to the authorities, reported on Sunday that the agreement between the Egyptian government and several Emirati companies and entities is nearing completion for the development of the city of Ras El Hekma. This agreement is expected to result in the injection of billions of US dollars into the Egyptian central bank, estimated at around $22 billion. The development of the city of Ras El Hekma is part of the Egyptian state’s 2052 plan for placing the city on the global tourism map.

The anticipated Emirati investments are expected to increase the availability of US dollars in Egyptian banks.

Egypt has been facing a worsening foreign currency shortage over the last two years. Since March it has kept its currency fixed against the dollar despite a widening gap with the black market rate.

Years of prodigious borrowing abroad has left Egypt with heavy foreign debt and a shortage of the hard currency needed to buy essential commodities.

READ: There’s a new deficit in Egypt’s finances and matters are likely to get worse