Von der Leyen announces major EU investment in Egypt

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, spoke at a conference in Cairo on the occasion of the signing of an investment of one billion euros by the European Union in Egypt.

by Faruk Imamovic
Von der Leyen announces major EU investment in Egypt
© Getty Images/Sedat Suna

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, spoke at a conference in Cairo on the occasion of the signing of an investment of one billion euros by the European Union in Egypt.

"It has been only 100 days since we opened a new era of friendship between Egypt and the European Union. And today, we are already reaping the fruits," von der Leyen said at a conference in Cairo aimed at promoting European entrepreneurship in Egypt, dpa reported.

The EUR 1 billion financing agreement is the first part of a larger EUR 7.4 billion package that the President of the European Commission announced in March. The money will be invested in several sectors, including clean energy production, industry, and food security, according to the Commission.

Egypt aims to increase its target for the share of renewable energy in energy production to 58% by 2040 in an updated strategy to expand green energy, Energy Minister Mohamed Shaker told a conference, Reuters reported.

Egypt previously aimed to produce 42% of its energy from renewable energy sources by 2030.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi
President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi© Getty Images

Statement by President von der Leyen

"As the European Union, we are making good on the commitments we made just three months ago. Let me mention three of them: First, more financial assistance. Second, more investments in strategic sectors. And third, more skills for Egyptian workers.

On my first point. In March, we announced a major financial and investment package worth EUR 7.4 billion. And today, we sign the first EUR 1 billion in macro-financial assistance. This package will accompany and incentivise Egypt's reform agenda that the private sector needs. And these reforms will foster a stronger business environment, attract more investment and create more good jobs in Egypt.

Second, with our Strategic Partnership we have committed to step up our strategic investments in Egypt. Now we aim to mobilise new European investments worth EUR 1.8 billion. This will go to the strategic sectors we have identified together last March. Let me just give one example. Egypt has the ambitious goal of becoming a clean energy hub. And this is in Europe's interest too. Such a clean energy hub would put Egypt at the centre of the Mediterranean crossroads, with new corridors to transport clean electricity and hydrogen, but also creating new clean-tech value chains that span across our region, from the Gulf to Europe. Today, we rely on batteries, solar panels and wind turbines that are mostly produced far away. What if we joined forces to produce them in our common region? We are now investing in this vision, like never before.

To achieve this, we also have to strengthen the skills that Egyptians need to thrive in the economy of tomorrow. This is my third and last example. Today, we are signing a new project, worth EUR 25 million, to provide clean-tech and digital training to young Egyptians. So that companies find skilled personnel, and Egyptians can find good jobs and make their living.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are backing our new partnership with substantial public investments. But what truly makes a difference is that the private sector is also on board. With our Strategic Partnership we have created a framework of trust and of certainty about the future direction of our relationship. This is exactly the message the private sector needs and expects, rightly so, to hear from us. Our commitment to support Egypt in its reforms has already sparked private sector action. The response we have received since last March has been overwhelming. At this Conference, European companies are signing over 20 new deals or MoU's with Egyptian partners, which are worth over EUR 40 billion. We have companies in sectors ranging from hydrogen to water management, from construction to chemicals, from shipping to aviation and automotive. You cover all the priorities that we have set out in our new partnership. And this is crucial.

Thank you for the trust you are placing in this partnership. Because we need each and every one of you to make this partnership successful. Our public investments can unlock new business opportunities for you. But only you have the know-how to set up new industries here in Egypt, or to train local workers. It is you, in the business sector, who are pioneering the technologies of the future, and we need you."

President Sissi's reaction

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi said in a speech that the conference "marks the first implementation steps in the course of elevating the relations and reflects [the[ commitment of Egypt and the EU to go beyond the phase of pledges to the phase of implementation."

He said that during successive international and regional crises, "Egypt has proven to be a reliable partner in facing joint challenges in a way that achieves security and stability."

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