Gulf states pledge 12 billion dollars to Egypt (dpa German Press Agency)

Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt (dpa) – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are to provide 4 billion dollars each to support the Egyptian economy, leaders of the three countries announced Friday.
The funds will come in a mix of aid, investments and deposits to the Egyptian central bank, the leaders said at a major investment conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh.
The Gulf states, which have provided Egypt with an estimated 23 billion dollars since the toppling of president Mohammed Morsi in 2013, reaffirmed their support for the new authorities under President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi.
Saudi Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdul-Aziz denounced what he called a “double standard” toward Egypt while Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Al Maktoum said that “we will never accept a boycott of Egypt.”
Egyptian authorities are hoping that investments due to be announced at Sharm al-Sheikh will jump-start the economy, battered by instability since the 2011 revolution against long time ruler Hosny Mubarak.
Opening the conference, al-Sissi said his government was putting in place a package of legislative and institutional reforms.
These include “one-stop shop system to create a favourable and attractive environment for investment” as well as a focus on dispute resolution measures, al-Sissi said.
Responding to criticism that his government’s plans have prioritized so-called “mega-projects” such as the partial doubling of the Suez Canal, al-Sissi said that the Egyptian economy “is not just about giant projects but a clear vision that includes the market economy.”
The new Egypt required human development too and social protection measures would mitigate the effects of fiscal reform on the poor, al-Sissi said.
Egypt is targeting an annual economic growth rate of 6 per cent – up from a projected 3.8 per cent this year – and a reduction of unemployment from more than 13 per cent to 10 per cent, he added.
Authorities say the conference will showcase deals worth tens of billions of dollars to investors from 90 countries, including projects worth a total of 25 billion dollars under public-private partnership arrangements.
Investors will have the chance to put their money into ports, recycling centres and a major technology outsourcing hub, a senior finance ministry official told state-run newspaper Al-Ahram.
Planning Minister Ashraf al-Araby has said the country needs 60 billion dollars of investment in the next four years to meet its growth targets.
Ahead of the conference, al-Sissi met US Secretary of State John Kerry, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.
Kerry wrote on his Twitter account that they had discussed the Middle East peace process, Libya, Syria, and the Islamic State jihadist organization.
The prime ministers of Italy and Portugal were also due to attend the conference.
A Qatari delegation was expected, in a sign that Saudi efforts to heal the rift between Egypt and the Gulf emirate were bearing fruit.
Egypt has denounced Qatar for backing the Muslim Brotherhood of former president Morsi, who was toppled by al-Sissi after mass protests in 2013.