CAIRO – Saudi Arabia’s financial support for strategic ally Egypt will no longer involve “free money” and will increasingly take the form of loans that provide returns to help it grapple with low oil prices, a Saudi businessman familiar with the matter said.
“This is a change in strategy. Return on investment is important to Saudi Arabia as it diversifies sources of revenue,” the businessman told Reuters on Friday during what has been described as a “historic” visit to Cairo by Saudi King Salman. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait showered Egypt with billions of dollars after then-military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013 after mass protests against his rule. But low oil prices and differences over regional issues have called into question whether such strong support is sustainable.