Egypt's sec­ond eco­nomic life­line

The Pak Banker - - OPINION - Mo­ham­mad Al Asoomi

There are spe­cific events of seis­mic sig­nif­i­cance in the history of each na­tion that will re­main in­grained in the minds of suc­ces­sive gen­er­a­tions, ir­re­spec­tive of whether they are painful or are a source of fresh joy. The de­feat on June 5 of the Arab-Is­raeli War, also known as the Six-Day War, or the Septem­ber 11 at­tacks in New York are a few ex­am­ples of painful events.

The late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan's ac­ces­sion to power as the Ruler of Abu Dhabi on Au­gust 6, 1966 is one of the most pleas­ant events in the UAE that will al­ways be re­mem­bered by suc­ces­sive gen­er­a­tions of Emi­ratis. This is be­cause the credit for the cre­ation of the Union goes to the late Shaikh Zayed, who led the un­par­al­leled march of de­vel­op­ment and con­struc­tion boom.

For­tu­itously, Au­gust 6 this year marks the open­ing of the new Suez Canal, which is an eco­nomic and strate­gic mile­stone not for Egypt only but also for Arab coun­tries, es­pe­cially those that stood by Egypt in this vi­tal pro­ject and pro­vided all forms of fi­nan­cial and moral sup­port, such as the UAE, Saudi Ara­bia, Kuwait and Bahrain.

The flag­ship pro­ject - which will be in­au­gu­rated to­day (Thurs­day) in the pres­ence of many world lead­ers - will add greatly to the Egyp­tian econ­omy, which was sig­nif­i­cantly af­fected by var­i­ous events over the past five years and by the poor eco­nomic man­age­ment of for­mer pres­i­dent Mo­ham­mad Morsi, as well as by the on­go­ing ter­ror­ist at­tacks car­ried out by Daesh and the Mus­lim Brother­hood.

The new ship­ping route will in­crease Egypt's an­nual Suez Canal earn­ings from the cur­rent $5.3 bil­lion to $11 bil­lion (Dh19.5 bil­lion to Dh40.4 bil­lion). While much will de­pend on growth in global trade, the new canal's rev­enue gen­er­a­tion will un­doubt­edly reach this level over the next few years. It will raise the ca­pac­ity from the cur­rent 50 com­mer­cial and non-com­mer­cial ves­sels to 100 daily, thus dou­bling the an­nual rev­enue to $11 bil­lion.

In the mean­time, the new canal will of­fer thou­sands of jobs for Egyp­tians, and the canal's ad­di­tional rev­enues will make up a pro­por­tion of the losses that re­sulted from the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in the tourism sec­tor so vi­tally im­por­tant to the econ­omy, which has not fully re­cov­ered yet due to acts of sabotage and ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Si­nai and other tourist ar­eas.

In ad­di­tion, the open­ing of this mega pro­ject in the global spotlight and rep­re­sented by many dig­ni­taries, rep­re­sent­ing the high­est lev­els, will of­fer moral sup­port to en­cour­age do­mes­tic and for­eign in­vestors to in­vest in Egypt, thereby boost­ing its sta­bil­ity grad­u­ally and lead to op­ti­mum growth rates.

New do­mes­tic and for­eign fund­ing will thus join those de­ployed by Gulf in­vest­ments in the past two years, which means Egyp­tian Pres­i­dent Ab­dul Fat­tah Al Sissi's eco­nomic pol­icy is in the right di­rec­tion.

The open­ing also sign­posts to the im­por­tance of the al­liance be­tween Egypt and the GCC coun­tries, which re­sulted in many im­por­tant projects for Egypt's econ­omy that will re­sult in achiev­ing high growth rates and pro­vid­ing mil­lions of jobs and im­prov­ing liv­ing stan­dards. They are in con­trast to the eco­nomic sabotage oper­a­tions car­ried out by some coun­tries like Iran in Ye­men, Syria, Iraq and Le­banon through the fund­ing of sec­tar­ian or­gan­i­sa­tions that have led to the de­struc­tion of the economies of these coun­tries and set­ting them back by many years.

Au­gust 6, 1966 marked the his­tor­i­cal start of the es­tab­lish­ment of a mod­ern and eco­nom­i­cally ad­vanced coun­try, with the UAE now a model for other de­vel­op­ing economies. Hope­fully, Au­gust 6, 2015 would form a strong be­gin­ning for the Egyp­tian econ­omy, sim­i­lar to the his­tor­i­cal pe­riod that was wit­nessed by Egypt af­ter the open­ing of the Suez Canal more than 150 years ago. In fact, the Arab world is now in need of more than Au­gust 6 events, whether by the emer­gence of lead­ers who are keen to de­velop their coun­tries and pro­vide a de­cent life for their cit­i­zens or to im­ple­ment vi­tal de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes that con­trib­ute to over­com­ing the af­ter­math of sabotage, pro­vid­ing job op­por­tu­ni­ties and putting Arab economies back on the track of eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment and progress.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.