Minister of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriates' Affairs Nabila Makram told MPs on Monday that the number of Egyptians living in African states reached 46,000 in 2018, with 40,000 of those in South Africa.
In a meeting with members of parliament’s African affairs committee, Makram said that “it was previously believed that the number of Egyptians working and living in different African states reached one million in 2018, but this is not correct, as the official figures of the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) show that the number does not exceed 46,000.”
“There could be others who are not officially registered, but nobody knows how many they are,” she said.
Makram indicated that the immigration ministry, in collaboration with other ministries, is working hard to increase the number of Egyptians doing business in African states and also increase the number of Egyptian workers in African markets.
“This is a strategic goal, because Africa is the continent Egypt belongs to and it greatly serves our national and economic interests to have strong links with all African countries,” said Makram, adding that “this is although many Egyptians decline to work in Africa because many believe that business opportunities there are not profitable, but we always coordinate with the investment ministry to ensure that they get good jobs in joint investment projects.”
Makram revealed that she will make a number of visits to African countries very soon, starting with South Africa, where a large number of Egyptians live and work.
“This will come with Egypt becoming the chair of the African Union in 2019,” she said.
For his part, Tarek Radwan, head of the African affairs committee, urged the Ministry of Immigration to take all the measures necessary to prevent Egyptians from going to neighbouring Libya.
“It is very sad that the number of Egyptians going to Libya in an illegal way has increased, despite the negative security conditions there, just to seek jobs or to go to Europe in an illegal way,” said Radwan.
In response, Makram said the immigration ministry is coordinating with the ministries of interior and defence to prevent any kind of illegal migration to Libya.