Economic development of the Middle East has been strongly influenced by western capitalism. From the 18th century and onwards, Great Britain and France alternatively competed against and cooperated with each other in order to exploit the ailing Ottoman Empire and to maximize their imperial interests. The British occupation of Egypt further accelerated this trend. The western exploitation as such led to the incorporation of Middle Eastern economy into the global capitalist market. To extract more resources, the western powers made huge investment in the development of the regional infrastructure.