Why Egypt Matters to the UAE

With the fall of former president Mohamed Morsi in early July, several Gulf countries have propped up Egypt’s failing economy with a stream of cash pledged to the North African country. Mere days after Morsi’s fall, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Kuwait together had already pledged $8 billion to Egypt. Of the three countries, however, the UAE has been most vocal in its opposition to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from which he hails, and in its support of the interim government, and its army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The UAE’s vested interest in a stable, but not necessarily democratic, Egypt is part and parcel of its concerns over the spreading sectarianism in the region, as well as concerns over the Iranian threat to the Gulf and Levant.  With the hopes that aid will stabilize the Egyptian economy, the UAE has found itself in a leading position in addressing the issue. Rather than continue to funnel cash into a flailing economy, the UAE has adopted a Marshal Plan approach, supporting high profile projects to improve housing, healthcare and education and, encouraging international cooperation to work towards this goal. While these goals are well-intentioned, in his latest piece for MENASource, Senior Fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, Richard LeBaron argues that the Emiratis need to use their leverage to ensure that real economic reforms in Egypt are instituted in order for aid to yield sustainable results, rather than continue to serve as nothing more than a crutch.

Image: Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, has said that the economic development in any country is linked to its security and political stability, adding that the Egyptian government has achieved positive progress on the roadmap. (Photo: UAE Interact)