China, Egypt Sign $17 Billion in Investment Deals as XI Tours Mideast

By Holtz, Michael | The Christian Science Monitor, January 21, 2016 | Go to article overview

China, Egypt Sign $17 Billion in Investment Deals as XI Tours Mideast


Holtz, Michael, The Christian Science Monitor


Chinese President Xi Jinping announced Thursday his country's plans to help Egypt improve its infrastructure by aiding in the construction of around $15 billion worth of projects.

Mr. Xi said the projects, which range from the energy to transportation sectors, aimed to increase Egypt's industrial capacity, reports Reuters. Some have already been launched and others are still under review, he said at a joint news conference with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo.

Xi arrived in Egypt on Wednesday, the second leg of a Middle East tour that started in Saudi Arabia and ends in Iran. At a ceremony in Cairo, Chinese and Egyptian officials signed 21 deals that could lead to a major increase in Chinese investment in the most populous Arab country.

"My visit to Egypt is to cement and deepen the China-Egypt relationship in an all-round way and advance practical cooperation between our two nations for new achievement," Xi said, according to China's official news agency Xinhua. "China and Egypt are true friends and good brothers."

China appears eager to improve its standing in the volatile Middle East by pursuing a series of economic deals similar to what it has sought in other parts of the developing world, namely in sub- Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. (On Thursday, Indonesia broke ground on a $5.5 billion joint project with China to build Southeast Asia's first high-speed rail service.)

Xi arrival in Egypt came just days ahead of the Jan. 25 anniversary of the 2011 uprising that ended autocrat Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule. Mr. Sisi, a former general, became president in 2014 after a military coup d'etat and has so far struggled to improve the country's soured economy.

"China supports Egypt's efforts to maintain stability, develop the economy and improve livelihoods, and supports Egypt to play an even greater role in international and regional affairs," Xi said in Cairo, according to Reuters. …

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