The Egyptian government, headed by the military is hoping to attract billions of foreign investor dollars to stimulate the country’s economy. After seeing the support of the Arab monarchies of the Gulf dry up, with Egypt actually returning loans back to some Arab lenders, Egypt is organizing a conference in Sharm El-Sheikh on March 13 aimed at showcasing what it has to offer to a more global audience. Millions have already been spent on marketing the event and participation announcements are heavily mediatized so as to create a positive momentum.
But as much as the regime wants to drain some $60 billion of foreign investors into the economy, its enemies, ranging from the semi-moderate Muslim Brotherhood to the extremists of the Islamic State affiliates naturally don’t want the same outcome. Among the most extreme elements are Ajnad Misr and State of Sinai, which used to be known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis.
To convince foreign investors to stay clear from Egypt, a campaign of terror has been unleashed on businesses that carry foreign brands. The attacks are a shift from an early campaign of assassinations of police, military and law enforcement personnel to economic and business targets. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are being used to destroy franchises such as those of the American fast-food giant KFC, or supermarkets like the French Carrefour. Businesses and outlets owned by Gulf companies are particularly targeted given the commitments made by Gulf countries such as UAE to invest in Egypt.
In addition to foreign brands, Egyptian infrastructure owned and operated by local firms have also been the target of attacks, including railway tracks, power and telecom systems as well as shopping malls and areas with high public traffic, causing many deaths and many more injured.
Given the increase in economic incidents as recorded by MEA Risk’s Critical Incidents Tracker, MEA Risk is issuing a high-risk warning for those traveling to Egypt, advising them to increase their own security and limit their movement.
The conference will take place from the 13th to the 15th, and therefore we anticipate the potential of increase violence and heightened police and military activity during the days preceding and following the event.