Egypt’s NBE bank signs interbank alliance with China, Arab banks

National Bank of Egypt (NBE), the country’s largest state bank, signed on Monday a deal to form an alliance with Arab and Chinese banks responsible for channeling financial assistance to joint projects.

The joint projects will be especially linked to the Belt and Route initiative.

The new alliance is currently comprised of China Development Bank (CDB), NBE, Lebanon’s Fransabank, Morocco’s BMCE bank, and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FGB).

It is the first alliance of its kind among the parties and must operate as a club that will promote communication, exchanges, services, and financial support, among other purposes.

The priority will be infrastructure projects, telecommunications, rehabilitation, and construction of air terminals and ports, senior sources told Prensa Latina.

The alliance was created two days after the eighth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF), precisely focused on determining the instruments that expand economic cooperation in the context of the Silk Road, emerged in 2013.

Launched in 2013 as “one belt, one road”, the initiative involves China underwriting billions of dollars of infrastructure investment in countries connecting China with Asia, Africa and Europe, boosting trade and economic growth.

Essentially, the “belt” includes countries situated on the original Silk Road through Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

The initiative now encompasses more than 70 countries with a population of over 4.8 billion people, more than half the planet’s population. It covers economies worth a total some $ 21 trillion, accounting for 62 per cent of the world’s GDP and about 65 percent and 30 percent of global land- and maritime-based economic production respectively.

The Fitch ratings agency reported in 2017 that $ 900 billion in projects were already planned or underway.