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The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani with Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi in Cairo yesterday.
CAIRO: Qatar said yesterday it would invest $18bn in tourism and industry projects along Egypt’s Mediterranean coast over the next five years, the latest pledge of support to an economy hammered by a year and a half of political turmoil.
The projects include $8bn for gas, power and iron and steel plants at the northern entrance to the Suez Canal and $10bn for a giant tourist resort on the Mediterranean coast.
The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani said that “there is no ceiling for cooperation or investment in Egypt.”
The Premier added that he had handed a written message from the Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani to Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi confirming Qatar’s keenness to expand cooperation with Egypt in various fields.
Speaking at a press conference following his meeting with Mursi here yesterday, the Prime Minister said that conducting feasibility studies and work on designs for the projects will begin soon.
The Premier also stressed that Qatar intends to execute several housing projects in various parts of Egypt including the Fifth Settlement, Ghardaqha and Sharm El Sheikh.
Egypt’s stock exchange closed at a 14-month high yesterday on optimism that a new government with a clear popular mandate will secure investments and donor aid to stave off a balance of payments and budget crisis.
Cairo last month formally asked the International Monetary Fund for $4.8bn in emergency funding.
“We spoke with his Excellency President Mursi and agreed to invest $8bn on a power plant, natural gas and iron steel,” the Prime Minister said. “This will be in a integrated complex in East Port Said.”
He said the investments in the Port Said projects would extend over five years.
Qatar announced three months after the popular uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak that it was interested in investing near Port Said, but the plan had lain dormant since then.
In the last few months, Egypt has received more than $5bn in loans and pledges, including $2bn in direct budget support from Qatar and loans from Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Development Bank.
Qatar deposited $500m in direct budget support at the Egyptian central bank in August and said it would pay the remaining $1.5bn over the coming three months.
“We agreed on the following dates. At the end of this month will be one portion, the end of October another portion and the end of November another portion,” the Prime Minister said.
US officials this week said the Obama administration was close to a deal with Egypt’s new government for $1bn in debt relief, and on Saturday senior executives of around 50 US corporations begin a visit to Egypt to discuss new investments.
The Prime Minister also praised the Egyptian president’s two speeches before the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit and the Arab League Council, where Mursi stressed the necessity to reach a peaceful solution quickly to the crisis Syrian without foreign intervention. The Prime Minister said that Mursi’s speeches are a sign of Egypt’s return to its leading role among Arab countries.