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Saturday, 21 October 2017

Sisi's trip to Berlin will give 'fresh boost' to bilateral relations: Egypt envoy

The Egyptian president is due to attend the G20 Africa Partnership conference in Berlin on 12-13 June, with bilateral trade high on the agenda

Ahram Online , Sunday 11 Jun 2017
Sisi and Merkel "Reuters"
File Photo: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (R) and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) at an earlier meeting in Germany's Berlin (Photo: Reuters)
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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will fly to Germany on Monday for a visit intended to give a "fresh boost" to Egypt-German relations, according to Badr Abdel Atty, Egypt's ambassador to Berlin.

Speaking to MENA on Sunday, Abdel Atty said that the two-day conference on German investment in African countries comes against the backdrop of "unprecedented" coordination between to two nations over the past two-and-a-half years.

El-Sisi has met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel six times during that period, most recently in March, said the envoy.

The Egyptian president is one of several African heads of state attending the G20 Africa Partnership conference in Berlin on 12-13 June, which is being hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Finance.

Also attending will be the presidents of Tunisia, Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Nigeria and Rwanda. The world's top financial officials, including the presidents of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank, will also attend the gathering.

The conference is intended to "provide backing for the G20 Africa Partnership and the Compact with Africa" – two initiatives that support private investment and infrastructure growth in African countries, according to the G20 website.

According to Abdel Atty, the ongoing coordination between Egypt and Germany reflects areas of mutual interest and cooperation.

"There is a mutual need between the two countries," he said.

Egypt needs German tourism and investment, as well as technology localization and help with technical education and training programs, he said. Around 400,000 German tourists visited Egypt from January to May 2017, with the figure expected to hit a million tourists by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, said Abdel Atty, Germany needs Cairo as "a major player in achieving stability in the region and a bulwark against terrorism ... illegal migration ... and human trafficking from Libya."

During the visit, El-Sisi is scheduled to deliver a speech about challenges facing African countries. He will also take part in a panel discussion hosted by Merkel on private investment in infrastructure and partnerships between the private and public sectors.

El-Sisi will be the first head of state to be received by Merkel at the conference. The two leaders are scheduled to hold bilateral talks on political and economic relations, security and regional issues and bilateral trade.

During the visit, a joint Egyptian-German economic committee, overseen by Egypt's trade minister and Germany's economy minister, is due to work on a strategy for boosting bilateral trade. The Egyptian president is expected to sign the deal once it has been finalised.

Bilateral trade amounted to approximately 5.6 billion euro in 2016, a 10 percent rise from 2015. German investment in Egypt up to January this year stood at nearly $620 million.

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