Culture and Society

  • Article // Jan 15, 2015
    Maria Golia
    In March 2014, before resigning as Egypt’s minister of defense and pursuing his campaign for the presidency, General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi announced an agreement with the UAE construction firm Arabtec to build a million affordable homes for “Egyptian youth.” The Egyptian Army facilitated the deal by pledging to donate 160 million square meters of land in 18 locations nationwide. Although Arabtec had never handled a project of this scale or value ($40 billion), one of its largest stakeholders (22 percent) is the Abu Dhabi state fund Aabar. The firm’s letter of understanding noted that the UAE was “very keen to mobilize all efforts to boost support for our brothers in Egypt.” The project made headlines, Sisi was elected president, and Arabtec then fell off the media’s radar.
  • While the MENA countries are very diverse, there are similar trends and aspects of culture found throughout the region.