Getty Images / Chris McGrath, Google

Can A Giant Bridge Ease Egypt And Saudi Arabia's Economic Woes?

A new bridge connecting Egypt and Saudi Arabia could add a much-needed boost to the countries' ailing economies.

By Melissa Prax | April 9, 2016

Saudi Arabia and Egypt are building a bridge over the Red Sea — a move that might be partly motivated by Egypt's dwindling economy.

Detailed plans for the bridge have yet to be released, but the countries' likely plan is to connect the southern Sinai Peninsula to Saudi Arabia.

The actual cost of the bridge wasn't announced, but local media report the countries signed several deals totaling more than $20 billion to boost economic development in Egypt.

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The two countries are allies, and Saudi Arabia is one of Egypt's major investors.

Egypt's economy started faltering during the Arab Spring in 2011, and Saudi Arabia has been helping Egypt since 2013.

Last year after facing a currency shortage, Egypt received $8 billion from the gulf state. According to Al Jazeera, the two countries are expected to sign a multibillion-dollar plan to fund Egypt's oil needs for the next five years.

But Saudi Arabia's pockets aren't endlessly deep. In March, the oil-funded kingdom was reportedly looking to get $8 billion in loans as oil prices fell.

The bridge could offer some benefits — at least, both countries are likely hoping so. Saudi Arabia's king said connecting the nations could offer "unprecedented levels" of trade.

Of course, this isn't just about trade. There's influence at stake here, too.

The two countries' partnership includes standing together politically in the region and against Iran.

This video includes clips from Al ArabiyaEgypt TourismCNN and Al Ghad and images from Getty Images, Rob / CC BY ND 2.0 and Simon Inns / CC BY 2.0.

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