CAIRO – December 28, 2018: The comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Egypt experienced an unprecedented boost in 2018, the New China News Agency (Xinhua) reported on Friday.
In September, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi visited China for the 2018 Beijing Summit of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC), his fifth visit to the country since he took office in 2014.
Before the FOCAC meeting, the Egyptian head of state held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, in which he agreed to jointly advance the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Egypt in the new era.
Xi emphasized that China greatly appreciates the development of a comprehensive strategic partnership with Egypt. He also pledged to continue assisting Egypt in its efforts to maintain stability, develop the economy and improve people’s livelihoods, pursue a development path that suits national conditions, and play a greater role in international and regional affairs play.
For his part, President Sisi emphasized that Egypt attaches great importance to the comprehensive strategic partnership with China.
“As one of the first countries to support the Belt and Road Initiative, Egypt firmly believes that the initiative will create tremendous opportunities for their bilateral cooperation as well as international and regional cooperation,” he said when speaking to the Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang in China met in September.
The Chinese premiere said China is ready to encourage its companies to invest in Egypt and cooperate through Suez Canal Industrial Park through Suez Canal Industrial Park for broader markets and mutual benefits.
Sisi welcomed the increase in investments by Chinese companies in Egypt and called for efforts to take advantage of Egypt’s geographic location and Suez Canal Industrial Park to explore markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa together.
During his visit to China, Sisi also witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation documents between the two countries.
The deals included the construction of a pumping and storage station in the Mount Ataka area in northeastern Egypt, a coal-fired power station in Hamrawein on the Red Sea coast and the second phase of the central business district in the new administrative capital.
Signings also included the construction of a textile industry project, a refinery and a petrochemical complex in the corridor area of the Suez Canal.
In October, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan visited Cairo at the invitation of Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.
During his two-day visit, Wang met Sisi and Madbouly. Both sides agreed to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries.
Wang and Madbouly witnessed the signing of cooperation documents in areas such as agriculture, education and culture.
In November, Madbouly visited China to attend the opening ceremony of the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.
Speaking at the exhibition opening ceremony, Madbouly said Egypt is excited about promoting cooperation with China in various fields.
He added that Egypt’s participation shows its appreciation for China’s efforts to improve fair trade between the two countries.
Madbouly found that there are around 1,080 Chinese companies operating in Egypt in various sectors, particularly industrial, information technology and economic zones.
The Egyptian pavilion in the exhibition covered areas such as agriculture, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, engineering and finance.
The bilateral trade volume between China and Egypt rose from January to August year-on-year by 26.7 percent to 8.83 billion dollars, according to the Chinese tax authority.
Government statistics show that China’s exports to Egypt reached $ 7.61 billion in the first eight months of 2018, while imports from Egypt totaled $ 1.22 billion.
In 2018, Chinese companies participated in a number of Egyptian exhibitions, including the Cairo International Book Fair, the First International Military Industry Exhibition (EDEX 2018), the Cairo International Motor Show (AUTOMIC FORMULA) and the Egyptian-Chinese Trade and Investment Exhibition .
Egypt has also signed a number of agreements with Chinese companies. In March 2018, the Egyptian government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China State Construction Engineering Co. to plan and build three closed gyms in Sharm al-Sheikh, Hurghada and Luxor to host the men’s handball world championship To prepare in 2021.
In May, the Egyptian New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Chinese construction company CGCOC Group for the construction of the first industrial area in the city of New Alamein.
Earlier this month, the chairman of the Egyptian Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI), Abdel Moneim al-Taras, announced that he had agreed with the chairman of the China Railway 20 Bureau Group Corporation (CR20G), Deng Yong, to set up an industrial facility to manufacture of monorails and express trains.
Also in December, during EDEX 2018 in Cairo, Egyptian Air Force commander Mohamed Abbas signed an agreement to purchase drones from China’s National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC).
China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) started the main phase of construction of a new terminal basin in the port of Sokhna, south of the Suez Canal, northeast of Egypt in August, while the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) signed a $ 600 million loan agreement with the Egyptian in September China Development Bank (CDB) in the Chinese capital Beijing.
The collaboration between Egypt and China expanded into the cultural field when the first Chinese archaeological team began excavating the Montu Temple in Luxor, Upper Egypt. Egyptian and Chinese media representatives celebrated the broadcast of a dubbed Arabic version of the popular Chinese television series “Ode to Joy” on Egyptian state television in November.
Former Egyptian Ambassador to Beijing Mahmoud Allam told Xinhua that Egypt-China relations have seen “strong momentum in building a strategic partnership” this year.
“The exchange of visits between officials from both countries in 2018 confirms the willingness of political leaders in Egypt and China to communicate at all levels and to discuss issues of common concern,” he said.
The former diplomat praised the Chinese collaboration on development projects across Egypt and the diversity of Chinese investments in the country.
“Egypt is currently experiencing an economic breakthrough and China has a wealth of experience and resources from which Cairo can benefit,” Allam said.