UAE $10 billion investment in Jordan and Egypt is a game-changer – analysis

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The UAE will allocate $10 billion in an investment fund linked to Egypt and Jordan in an important development that was unveiled on Sunday.

According to Khaleej Times, the investment fund will be called the Industrial Partnership for Sustainable Economic Growth. The fund matters because regional investment linking these countries together also relates to the larger context of peace and security in the region because Egypt, the UAE and Jordan all have peace with Israel. Insofar as those countries work together it matters because they share interests in the region.  

According to the reports at The National, “a $10 billion investment fund has been allocated and managed by holding company ADQ to accelerate work on the partnership across five priority sectors, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, said in a joint conference on Sunday in Abu Dhabi.” 

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“The partnership identified five sectors of mutual interest to the three countries.”

The National

The report adds that “The partnership identified five sectors of mutual interest to the three countries including petrochemicals; metals, minerals and downstream products; textiles; pharmaceuticals and agriculture, food and fertilizers.” This will mean the possibility of joint large industrial projects, job opportunities and a view of diversifying the economies of the three countries.  

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The decisions are based on the directives of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and include a lot of potential game-changers. This is because the discussion regarding the investments links to security, safety and prosperity in the region. This is pegged to building capabilities and growth.

The reports noted that the three nations signed the partnership agreement in Abu Dhabi in the presence of Sheikh Mansouri bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Dr. Bisher Al-Khasawneh, Prime Minister of Jordan and Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, Prime Minister of Egypt. 

There is a lot of partnership potential here, not just for the three countries involved, but also linking them to other countries in the region and abroad. This matters because the UAE is already a huge business hub that links Asia with the Middle East and Europe.

Jordan’s economy

Jordan’s economy is in need of major investment and also new industrial production because Jordan not only must care for Syrian refugees but because it also needs to keep Jordanians employed and successful. The pandemic and the supply chain chaos unfolding in the world could have ramifications for countries like Jordan and Egypt. Both of them need the kind of innovation and ideas and investment that can come from the UAE. The UAE is a hi-tech modern economy, whereas Egypt and Jordan have large swaths of their country that are in need of new technology, investment and employment.  

The initial reports about the investment read like a perspectus of hopeful keywords, such as “stainability-led growth” and “supply chain security.” But these are real issues amid the pandemic as other economies in the region are facing hurdles. Iran’s economy is faltering and protests are common. It is trying to link Iran to China with slow and limited success.

Supply chains issues

Meanwhile, the issue of supply chains and potential food shortages matter. With the Ukraine war continuing there are questions about wheat and other exports. There is also the always important issue of employment. The Arab Spring and subsequent chaos and civil conflict in places like Syria were in part driven by economic issues.  

The reports about the investment fund appear to hint at linking the ports of the UAE with Aqaba and also via the Red Sea to Suez. It’s important the US Navcent, the naval portion of Central Command, has put in place a new force for the Red Sea and that unmanned systems are being deployed to secure these areas from threats.

According to reports over the weekend, the Iranian IRGC seized two tankers in the Persian Gulf. That illustrates that Iran can try to destabilize the high seas when it wants to. The need to knit together ports and investment is clear and it can be bolstered by existing security support from US Central Command and others. 

This matters in the broader context of the Abraham Accords as well. There are high hopes for Israel-UAE trade and investment. In addition, Israel seeks better ties with Greece and India, countries that are close to the UAE. Reports in the last several days have said that Israel wants to double trade with Egypt, according to Al-Monitor. In addition, Axios reported that the US has been mediating between Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Trade is also important for Israel-Bahrain ties. All of this shows that the building blocks exist and that new investment from the UAE in Jordan and Egypt is of importance in the wider view of the region and how trade can underpin stability.