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Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and UAE sign $2bn of industrial deals

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Ministers and business leaders from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and the UAE at the meeting in Amman
  • Government officials and CEOs from the 4 countries gathered in Amman
  • Deals cover agriculture, pharma, textiles, minerals and petrochemicals
  • Industry ministers underlined the need for ‘integrated Arab effort’

Businesses from the UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain have signed industrial deals valued at more than $2 billion at a government-backed gathering in Amman.

The meeting of the Higher Committee of the Industrial Partnership for Sustainable Economic Development, held on Sunday, brought together CEOs and the industry ministers of the four countries.

Twelve agreements were signed for nine projects in five sectors: agriculture, food and fertilisers, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and minerals and petrochemicals. 

The deals are expected to create approximately 13,000 direct and indirect job opportunities in the four nations.

The industrial partnership was launched in Abu Dhabi last May between the UAE, Egypt and Jordan. Bahrain joined the group during its second meeting, held in Cairo in July.

Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, the UAE’s minister of industry and its Cop28 president, said the work done by the four countries at the meeting “represents an exceptional model for industrial partnerships among private sector companies”. 

He added: “We call on companies in our respective countries to enter these partnerships and put forward proposals for projects that benefit from the capabilities of our countries and from our competitive advantages, resources, and expertise.

“As governments, our responsibility is to support these projects, enhance partnerships and provide the economic environment that enables their success.”

Yousef Al Shamali, Jordan’s minister of industry, trade and supply, described the group as “an integrated Arab effort directed by the highest political levels of the four countries”.

Economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa is expected to slow to 3.2 percent in 2023, down from 5.4 percent in 2022, according to the International Monetary Fund. The IMF is forecasting 3.5 percent growth next year.

Ahmed Samir Saleh, Egypt’s minister of industry and trade, said: “The economic crisis the world is currently experiencing demonstrates the necessity of achieving industrial integration among Arab states.

“It is clear we must strengthen regional partnerships and include the private sector as a major partner in implementing sustainable development plans and helping the Arab region to prosper.”

Egypt’s finances fell into crisis after the war in Ukraine triggered heavy foreign investment outflows from Cairo’s financial markets. The country agreed a four-year, $3 billion rescue plan from the IMF in December.

The agreements signed in Amman include a strategic partnership between Egypt’s Soda Chemical Industries and the Emirates Float Glass Company.

Soda is investing $500 million in a production facility for sodium carbonate, a raw material used to make detergent as well as glass. The Emirati company, owned by Dubai Investments, will purchase the final product.

Omar Al Suwaidi, undersecretary in the UAE’s industry ministry and head of the partnership’s executive committee, said the group had received another 35 proposals for future projects. These plans, which include an $800 million fertiliser factory in Jordan, are now being studied. 

Bahrain’s capital, Manama, will host the fourth meeting of the partnership later this year.