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China spends billions in Egypt to show its interest in the ‘Arab Street’

China spends billions in Egypt to show its interest in the ‘Arab Street’

The U.S. and Europe have been the dominant foreign powers in the Mideast in the past. Recently it appears that their influence is disappearing, providing a new opening for new foreign powers like China. A Sino-Arab researcher Kyle Haddad-Fonda in a recent article in World Politics Review said “This decade has seen an unprecedented surge in enthusiasm for the Chinese model of development in the Arab world,”. He added that “As the American vision of democratic capitalism has lost its luster, many Arab intellectuals have turned to China,”.

The last visit of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s in Beijing is the latest evidence that China is maneuvering to play a bigger role in the Middle East and Persian Gulf. The two countries reportedly signed deals worth upwards of $65 billion during the summit. Beijing’s plans for the region is extend far beyond just doing business.It is important to know that any country that vies for influence in the Mideast must first win the hearts and minds of the “Arab Street,”. This explains why China is investing considerable diplomatic and financial resources in Egypt. Although the Country does not have much in the way of natural resources, the country's strategic location along the Suez and its disproportionate influence in Mideast politics are both very attractive assets to policy makers in Beijing.

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