Photo Credit: www.bbc.com
For decades, the pulse of Egypt has reverberated as the barometer of the Arab nation — from cinema to literature to learning and contemporary thought, the Arab world has always looked up to Egypt as the inspiration behind much of its modernism, moderation and progress.
The inauguration of the New Suez Canal, in which the UAE has played a vital supporting role, is therefore a historic milestone for the region in many ways.
When construction of the Suez Canal started more than 150 years ago, it took 10 years to complete the trade link that connects the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea. But the expanded waterway that opens today was completed in only one year instead of the three years originally planned, at a cost of about Dh33 billion.
The expanded canal will cut the waiting period for vessels from 18 hours to 11 and the number of ships that can use the canal daily will increase from 49 to 97 in eight years, significantly improving global trade opportunities.
The canal is thus the symbol of a new Egypt emerging from years of political unrest and economic challenges.
Those challenges have also been mitigated in large parts thanks to an impressive infrastructure portfolio built by the UAE for Egypt, including more than 50,000 houses, a 10 megawatt solar power plant, 100 new schools, 78 health clinics, 600 public transport buses and four major road bridges.
The UAE has always held a special pride of place for Egypt, with historic ties that go back several decades. The UAE leadership’s support for the restoration of stability in Egypt and its economic resurgence under President Abdul Fatah Al Sissi marks the continuation of that relationship, with the new projects expected to create at least 900,000 jobs.
But more critically, the rapid strides of progress in Egypt stand out as a spectacular story of success and a beacon of hope in a region wracked by violence.
And that success would not have been possible without the unflinching commitment of the UAE towards Egypt and its people at such a critical juncture for the Arab world.