Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI)
Ramsis Street, Abbasia Square,
Nasr City, P.O. Box: 770 Cairo
The Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) supervises nine military factories which are producing civilian goods as well as military products. Initially the owners of AOI were Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia and the Emirates gave back to Egypt their shares in AOI in 1993, valued at $1.8 billion. AOI now is entirely owned by the government of Egypt. AOI has about 19,000 employees out of which are 1250 engineers. AOI fully owns 6 factories and shares in 3 joint ventures, beside the Arab Institute for Advanced Technology.
AOI was established in 1975 with the aim of building an advanced technological industrial base. Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates founded the Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) and capitalized the new organization with more than US$1 billion. These countries set up the AOI to establish an Arab defense industry by combining Egypt's managerial ability and industrial labor force with the Arab countries' oil money and foreign technology. The bulk of the arms manufacturing was intended to take place in Egypt. But the AOI foundered before it could become a major arms producer because the Arab states broke relations with Egypt over Sadat's peace initiatives with Israel. Egypt kept the AOI functioning in spite of a 1979 proclamation by Saudi Arabia dissolving the body. Some of the AOI's members have renewed military contacts, but as of 1989, the AOI had not been restored to its original status.
The AOI had operated as an independent enterprise since 1979 and was exempt from Egyptian taxes and business restrictions. The AOI consisted of nine companies, five wholly owned by Egypt and four joint ventures. The Egyptian plants manufactured missiles, rockets, aircraft engine parts, armored personnel carriers, electronics, radar, communications gear, and assembled aircraft. A joint venture with French firms assembled Gazelle combat helicopters and helicopter engines. A joint venture with the British manufactured the Swingfire antitank guided missile, while another venture with the Chrysler Corporation produced jeeps.
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