CAIRO, June 21 (Reuters) - Egypt and Saudi Arabia signaled
their intention to strengthen economic ties on Tuesday during a
visit to Cairo by Saudi de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin
Salman, announcing deals worth $7.7 billion.
Saudi Arabia has already provided billions in support since
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power in 2014,
and Cairo is struggling with the economic knock-on effects of
the Ukraine war.
The stop in Egypt was the start of the first tour outside
the Gulf region in over three years by the prince, widely known
as MbS. He left on Tuesday evening for Jordan, and will later
The prince and Sisi discussed trade, investment and
security, as well as a regional summit in Saudi Arabia next
month that will be attended by U.S. President Joe Biden, a
statement from Egypt's presidency said.
The 14 deals signed on Tuesday ranged from renewable energy
to petroleum, food and fintech. They included a $1.5 billion
agreement between Saudi Arabia's Acwapower and the
Egyptian Electricity Holding Company to build a wind power
plant, according to an Egyptian cabinet statement.
Among the other agreements was the development of the
multi-purpose terminal at Egypt's Damietta port, Egypt's General
Authority for Investment and Free Zones said in a statement, and
the establishment of a $150 million "pharmaceutical city" by
Egypt's Pharco Pharmaceuticals in Saudi Arabia, the company's
chairman told Alsharq TV.
A joint statement said Saudi Arabia was resolved to lead
investments in Egypt worth $30 billion, though it was unclear
what the figure referred to.
Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February
led to higher commodity prices, hit tourism revenues and
prompted investors to exit emerging markets, there were concerns
over Egypt's current account and budget deficit, bankers said.
In March, Saudi Arabia deposited $5 billion in Egypt's
central bank. The Egyptian government had said previously that
cooperation with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund would result in
$10 billion in investments.
The Saudi-based Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has
started disbursing $3 billion in new financing to help Egypt
import commodities, its CEO said last week.
(Reporting by Ahmed Ismail, Momen Atallah, Moataz Mohamed and
Yomna Ehab; writing by Nafisa Eltahir and Aidan Lewis; editing
by Catherine Evans, David Evans and Grant McCool)