Thursday,23 May, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1439, (18 - 24 April 2019)
Thursday,23 May, 2019
Issue 1439, (18 - 24 April 2019)

Ahram Weekly

Egypt in Africa

This month saw a diplomatic flurry reflected in a series of visits and contacts between Cairo and African states, reports Doaa El-Bey


Al-Sisi and Sall
Al-Sisi and Sall

As the president of the African Union (AU) for 2019, Egypt vowed to exert every effort to boost security and stability and achieve development and prosperity for the continent.  

That was reflected in a series of visits exchanged with African states this month. Last week, a presidential overseas tour took President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi to three West African states: Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea.

The tour comes as part of Egypt’s keenness to intensify contacts and coordination with African brothers in all domains, especially trade, investment and economic fields, Presidential Spokesman Bassam Radi said.

It was Al-Sisi’s first African tour since Egypt became chair of the AU on 10 February.

With these targets in mind, Al-Sisi held extensive bilateral talks with the leaders of Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal to discuss ways of enhancing bilateral cooperation and maximising the benefit of Egypt’s chairmanship of the AU.

In Dakar, the president held talks with his Senegalese counterpart Macky Sall that tackled means of boosting bilateral relations in various political, economic and commercial domains through increasing trade exchange and promoting Egyptian investments in Senegal within the framework of the plan “The Emerging Senegal”, Al-Sisi said at a press conference held after their meeting.

They also agreed on the importance of coordination within the framework of the UN and its agencies for the benefit of the African continent, in addition to enhancing counter-terrorism and the true understanding of Islam and tolerance in Africa.

In Al-Sisi’s meeting with President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire, the two leaders agreed to boost bilateral ties by increasing trade and investment. Al-Sisi and Quattara signed several memoranda of understanding on cooperation in health, culture and information technology.

The two presidents agreed at the end of the talks to activate the role of a joint committee between the two countries at the level of foreign ministers to follow up on cooperation in various fields.

Al-Sisi received the National Order of Merit from Cote d’Ivoire during his visit to the African country, the first by an Egyptian president.

In the Guinean capital, Conakry, a statue of former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel-Nasser was unveiled in the presence of Al-Sisi and his Guinean counterpart Alpha Condé. 

The statue is erected in the university that was named after Abdel-Nasser in 1970. It is the first and largest institute of higher education in Guinea.

Both leaders also inaugurated a new complex built in the same university and named after Al-Sisi. 

In addition, Al-Sisi received the National Order of Merit from Guinea during his visit. The last time an Egyptian president visited Guinea was in 1965.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri received Republic of the Congo-Brazzaville Foreign Minister Jean-Claude Gakosso. The meeting discussed means to enhance bilateral relations as well as regional developments.

Shoukri emphasised the importance that Cairo gives to enhancing its relations with Congo-Brazzaville, whether by advancing existing bilateral cooperation or exploring wider prospects for cooperation in order to meet the interests of the peoples of the two countries.

Gakosso expressed his country’s appreciation for its good relations with Cairo and the willingness of his country to continue seeking the development of joint bilateral action mechanisms.

Regional issues, especially the latest developments in Libya, topped the discussions of the two officials. Congo-Brazzaville chairs the AU High-Level Committee on Libya.

Shoukri briefed his Congolese counterpart on Egypt’s views on the latest developments in Libya.

The two ministers stressed at the end of the meeting the importance of pushing ahead with efforts to resolve the Libyan crisis and restore security and stability.

Gakosso also delivered a letter from Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso to President Al-Sisi as part of continuous coordination and consultation between the two countries.

On the same day, Shoukri received a phone call from South African Foreign Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. They discussed bilateral issues and the situation in the African continent, also with a focus on developments in Libya.

The call was made as part of joint coordination between the two countries, especially as South Africa is currently a member of the UN Security Council, while Egypt is the chair of the AU.

Today, the second session of the AU’s Specialised Technical Ministerial Committee on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism (STC-TTIIET) was concluded in Cairo.

The meeting aimed to pave the way for the development of transport and energy infrastructure as well as tourism to meet the AU’s 2063 goals.

It is a biennial event that gathers the ministers of transport, energy and tourism, together with experts from various fields, bringing together more than 500 professionals from around the continent.

It is believed that choosing Egypt as the venue for the meeting reflects the leading role the country has played and continues to play in the development of infrastructure on the continent.
The meeting was organised by the African Union Commission (AUC), in collaboration with the government of Egypt, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other international bodies.

The five-day meeting was held under the title “Developing Smart Infrastructure for Africa’s Continental Transformation and Integration”.

The first meeting of the STC took place from 13 to 17 March 2017 in Lomé, Togo. The first session of the STC-TTIIET focused on the theme “Financing Infrastructure in Africa”.

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