Qatar announced its commitment to the investments it had previously pledged in Egypt, but stressed that it would not deposit more “grants and charitable aid” in Cairo, in a position that closely resembles the positions of the rest of the Gulf states that decided to reconsider their support for Egypt.
“We are committed to that,” said Qatari Finance Minister Ali bin Ahmed Al-Kuwari, in response to his country’s pledge in March of last year to provide five billion dollars to Egypt.
“The matter has become purely commercial with Egypt, with regard to Qatar, the provision of grants and charitable aid is not continuous,” the Qatari minister added, in an interview with “Bloomberg” television on the sidelines of the Qatar Economic Forum on Wednesday.
“When it comes to grants and direct cash support, it becomes very difficult,” Al-Kuwari added.
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have already taken a similar position, as they emphasized changing their approach to dealing with financial support provided to Egypt, by focusing on investments, and the two countries stressed that there is no longer room for free aid.
Egyptian investment expert Ibrahim El-Hedoudy confirmed that relations between Arab countries have become based on pure interests, especially since sovereign funds have become the biggest controller of investment strategy in most Gulf countries.
He explained that the political and fraternal relations between Arab kings and presidents are no longer what they were in the past, according to which the Gulf states supported Egypt. Every official wants to guarantee the rights of future generations in his country, and this is his right.
Egypt is suffering from an economic crisis that has worsened since the Russian war on Ukraine in February of last year, after foreign investors withdrew their money from government bonds in light of the high interest rates in Western countries, which contributed to the shortage of foreign currency reserves.
Egypt has always relied on Gulf support to get it out of its economic crises, but this situation has changed in the last two years, in light of the prevailing belief that the Egyptian treasury has turned into a black hole that swallows money, and that there is an urgent need to reconsider support policies, and that Cairo must take the initiative to take structural reforms, even if they are painful.
The advisor of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Amr Al-Shobaki, said that the exceptional circumstances that Egypt went through after 2013 no longer exist now, and the normal situation is that relations between countries are based on mutual investment and economic partnerships.
He pointed out that the positions of Qatar and the Gulf states on the issue of converting aid into practical, logical investments carry full economic connotations with the Gulf observations on the performance of the Egyptian economy, and that the two sides have folded many differences and it is not expected that Doha will take negative positions from Cairo at this time.
Egypt agreed with the International Monetary Fund on $3 billion in financing, while Cairo is racing to secure hard currency by selling state-owned assets.
Last February, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced the names of 32 public companies and assets that will be offered on the stock exchange, including three banks and two companies affiliated with the army.