European Firms Commit Over €40 Billion in Deals with Egypt Amid Economic Drive

Von der Leyen underscored the significance of Egypt's stability and prosperity for regional stability, echoing sentiments expressed at the Egypt-EU investment conference.

European firms have committed to deals valued at more than 40 billion euros ($42.85 billion) with Egyptian partners, as announced by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at an investment conference in Cairo.

This initiative forms a critical part of e fforts to bolster Egypt’s fragile economy amid regional instability and migration challenges.

Von der Leyen highlighted over 20 new agreements and memoranda of understanding (MOUs), following a significant 7.4 billion euro EU funding package and an upgraded relationship established earlier in the year.

These developments come against a backdrop where Egypt grapples with spillover effects from conflicts in Gaza and Sudan, and European nations strive to manage Mediterranean migrant flows.

Critics, including human rights groups, have raised concerns over financing directed to Egypt, given President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s prolonged crackdown on political dissent.

Despite these reservations, European officials emphasize their intention to strengthen Egypt’s resilience through increased investment in the private sector, aiming to mitigate economic vulnerabilities exposed by events like the Ukraine conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Von der Leyen underscored the significance of Egypt’s stability and prosperity for regional stability, echoing sentiments expressed at the Egypt-EU investment conference.

President Sisi emphasized the conference’s timeliness in addressing international and regional crises, advocating for enhanced cooperation between Egypt and Europe.

Key sectors attracting European investment include energy, with approximately half of the deals focused there, according to Ditte Juul Joergensen, director general of the European Commission’s energy department.

Other sectors such as water management, construction, chemicals, shipping, and aviation also featured prominently in von der Leyen’s remarks.

Despite the influx of foreign financing and pledges received by Egypt this year, challenges persist, including routine power shortages and disruptions in industrial production due to gas supply constraints.

Concerns also linger regarding economic strategy transparency and governance, compounded by delays in forming a new government following recent cabinet resignations.

Von der Leyen’s visit to Cairo coincided with her bid for re-election as Commission president, highlighting the ongoing diplomatic and economic ties between the EU and Egypt amidst broader geopolitical shifts.