China has signed agreements to invest nearly $18 billion in Egypt, whose economy is yet to recover from years of political turmoil.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi welcomed the much-needed future deals on Thursday, saying he prides himself on his friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Chinese agreements are aimed at developing the Suez Canal as well as the Egypt's infrastructure, transportation and electricity sector, with the investments staggered over several years.

President Xi's three-day visit to Egypt comes as part of a Middle East tour that will include a stop in Iran.

Earlier this week, Xi visited Saudi Arabia, where he signed 14 memoranda of understanding to enhance cooperation, research, investment and development in the fields of trade, satellite navigation technology, renewable energy and oil.