Egypt Watch

Haartez: The Emirati invasion of Egypt targets culture not only economy

Zvi Bar’el, an Israeli military and political analyst, has said that Egyptian parents have complained recently that their children’s school courses on religion and history were provided and approved by the United Arab Emirates rather than Egypt. Bar’el added in a blog on Haartez that such complaints disturbed journalists and members of parliament in Egypt, who warned of an Emirati plot to manipulate the cultural identity of the upcoming Egyptian generations through UAE-designed educational curricula.

The report revealed that GEMS Education for private school’s management, based in the UAE, purchased in 2018 a 50 per cent stake in four Egyptian private schools, violating the Egyptian law that bans acquisition of more than a 20 per cent stake in private schools.

The company announced two years later the construction of 30 schools in Egypt, which are to accommodate 25,000 to 30,000 students, with a total investment of $300 million. Bar’el indicated that 30 is not a low number when compared to 217, the total number of international schools in Egypt. The report addressed the Emirati plans to dominate other economic sectors with reports since 2016 about the Emirates seeking to monopolise the health services in Egypt. Since 2008 the Abraaj Group, a UAE-based private equity firm, set out to acquire the main medical laboratories in Egypt like Al Borg and Al Mokhtabar.

Later, the group acquired the Cleopatra Group of private hospitals along with other private hospitals. Moreover, it was reported that the group seeks to purchase Amoun Pharmaceutical. Despite the collapse of Abraaj after a series of scandals since 2018, it is supposed that the UAE still holds stakes in the Egyptian health services. In a similar vein, it is well known that the Emirates has a wide influence on the Egyptian media and entertainment industry. Bar’el added that it is expected that the Emirates will have priority in purchasing the army’s companies, which are to be offered on the stock exchange market according to the statements of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.