Trade and industry ministers from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Jordan reportedly have agreed on a dozen “top priority” projects as part of an emerging industrial partnership linking the four nations.
The 12 projects, valued around $3.4 billion, will spark cooperation in agriculture, textiles, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals and minerals. They serve as the first batch of a total 87 potential projects aimed at strengthening the private economic sectors of the four countries.
Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, who chaired the four-nation summit in Cairo, where the agreement came about, urged the participating nations to quickly consider other projects, as well.
Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea stressed the importance of integrating the Arab economies amid growing global financial uncertainty.
“The initiative is a cornerstone to attain the desired industrial integration through supply chains security, self-efficiency, industry localization and value-chain integration,” Gamea said, noting that value-chain integration comes through implementing joint projects.
“Egypt is eager to provide the facilities needed in support of this partnership and to eliminate all obstacles,” she said.
Jordanian Minister of Industry Yousef al-Shamali has said his nation supports joint Arab economic and industrial cooperation, calling the Cairo meeting “a fresh start towards real economic integration that will benefit the peoples of the Arab region.”
“There is a real opportunity to transform the agreed-upon projects under this partnership into solid projects to be implemented by private-sector members in the four countries as well as expand the areas of cooperation,” he said.
Al-Shamali also stressed the importance of addressing food security challenges in the Arab world, related to the impact of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Much of the Arab world depends on grain imports from Ukraine that have been disrupted due the ongoing war.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently told his Egyptian counterpart that Moscow is committed to continuing grain deliveries to Egypt.
“We confirmed the commitment of Russian exporters of cereal products to meet their orders in full,” Lavrov said.
The Industrial Partnership for Sustainable Economic Growth was established in May to promote long-term economic cooperation between the UAE, Egypt and Jordan, with Bahrain joining in recent days. The wealthy UAE agreed in May to earmark $10 billion for the shared investment fund.
The shared Arabic language and culture likely will facilitate the economic integration between the four countries, while their complementary strengths have the potential to strengthen the partnership.
The UAE and Bahrain are wealthy states that are able to provide much-needed large-scale funding for the mutually beneficial priority projects. By contrast, Egypt and Jordan offer skilled labor and low labor costs.
Emirati Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber welcomed Bahrain’s decision to join the industrial cooperation and said it would boost the overall partnership.
He also stressed that the partnership was open for other regional states to join “to benefit from its advantages and accelerate its targeted objectives.”