Egypt and Libya are strengthening relations through a slew of bilateral agreements on the economic and military fronts.
Under an agreement signed Wednesday (April 10th), Libya will give Egypt a $2 billion five-year, interest-free loan, Egypt's official Middle East News Agency reported.
The loan is intended to support the Egyptian economy, the state budget and foreign currency reserves, according to a finance ministry official.
Also on Wednesday, Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces Gen. Sidqi Sobhi said the Libyan and Egyptian armed forces are slated to co-operate in all fields through a new co-operation agreement, Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.
Sobhi's remarks came during a joint press conference with his Libyan counterpart, Maj. Gen. Yousef al-Manqoush, after the two countries agreed to develop military co-operation and conduct joint trainings.
"The chief of staff's visit asserts brotherhood and readiness of co-operation with the Libyan army," al-Manqoush said during the press conference.
Libya had announced last month it will provide Egypt with around 1 million barrels of crude oil per month to ease the fuel crisis in Egypt.
Oil will be supplied at global market prices and payment will be made on credit, Nouri Berouin, chairman of the Libyan National Oil Corporation, told Libya's state news agency.
Libyan oil minister Abdul Bari al-Aroussi said his country also plans to refine some of its crude oil in Egyptian refineries to support the Egyptian economy.
The 1 million barrels of oil can help mitigate Egypt's diesel and gasoline crisis, according to Rashed al-Menoufi, a political science professor at Ain Shams University and a specialist in political economy.
This has become "one of the most difficult issues at the moment" because of acute shortages -- of diesel in particular -- in the Egyptian market, he said.
Co-operation between the two countries did not stop in the years following their revolutions, but grew stronger through the recent activation of the Egyptian-Libyan Supreme Joint Committee, said Abdo Shalaby, a member of the Egyptian Businessmen Association and general manager of a real estate construction company.
The council will oversee negotiations regarding Egyptian workers in Libya and Egyptian companies seeking to enter the Libyan market and vice-versa, he said.
"The Egyptian government is co-operating with businessmen in both countries to activate economic relations through the sub-committees of the Egyptian-Libyan committee," he told Al-Shorfa.
A number of Egyptian ministries are represented in these sub-committees, he said, including the manpower, interior, investment, foreign, international co-operation and sports ministries.
Shalaby said he expects joint investments to be concentrated in the agriculture, energy, industry and petrochemicals sectors, as well as the construction and infrastructure sectors.
Many Egyptian real estate companies have already entered the Libyan market to assist in the country's reconstruction process, especially in areas devastated after the civil war, he said.
"The first stage will witness investments in agricultural land reclamation (about 33,000 acres), in addition to establishing free trade and industrial zones on the border," Shalaby said.
Some Libyan businessmen also expressed interest in resuming a project to build new housing developments in Egypt similar to the ones in Masr al-Gedida, 6th of October City and Sheikh Zayed, in co-operation and partnership with both governments, he said.
Nihal Saeed, of Egypt's Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics, told Al-Shorfa Egyptian government figures from 2012 reveal a total of almost $13 billion in Libyan investments in Egypt.
This amount includes $2 billion from 500 Libyan companies in Egypt, in the agriculture, tourism, finance and oil sectors, she said.
Saeed said her office expects an increase of $7 billion in Libyan investments in Egypt as more investors and businessmen come in and the work of the Egyptian-Libyan Supreme Joint Committee gets under way.
Meanwhile, the agency estimates Egyptian investments in Libya at almost $500 million in the construction and education sectors, Saeed said.
Nearly 1 million Egyptians live in Libya today, according to agency statistics.