FM Shoukry calls on France to support Egyptian efforts to mitigate Ukraine crisis’ impacts

Amr Kandil , Saturday 2 Apr 2022

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry has called on France, as current president of the European Union, to provide economic and political support to help Egypt mitigate the impacts of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Egypt   France
Combined images of Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry and French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian.

In a phone call on Saturday with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Shoukry discussed the negative impacts of the Ukraine crisis on the global economy, the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement.

He called on France to support to the Egyptian efforts to contain the impacts of the crisis within the frameworks of the current French presidency of the EU and the international financial institutions, according to the statement.

Shoukry also discussed with Le Drian bilateral relations and a number of regional and international issues of mutual concern, the ministry added.

Earlier on Saturday, on a related note, Shoukry also discussed in a phone call with his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock, joint work with Germany to enhance the Egyptian capabilities to face the negative economic repercussions of the Ukraine crisis, as well as bilateral relations at the political and economic levels.

Egyptian-French cooperation

The Egyptian FM welcomed the outcome of the French Minister of Finance and Economy Bruno Le Maire’s visit to Egypt last week to follow up on the implementation of existing cooperation projects and to sign a number of important agreements to launch new paths of cooperation, the ministry said.

Le Maire’s visit to Egypt has followed up on various economic agreements between the two countries, including a finance agreement between Egypt and France to manufacture 55 air-conditioned trains for Cairo Metro Line One, including maintenance work for eight years.

France’s Alstom Co. will implement the project, which will cost 776.9 million euros, the Egyptian cabinet said in a statement.

Out of the total value of the project, the Egyptian side will secure EGP 1.183 billion (about 59 million euros).

The repayment period for the loan is 25 years in addition to a 15-year grace period. The interest rate for the loan is 0.0092 percent, with the local component amounting to 13.3 percent.

Mitigation efforts

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, Egypt has been working to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the economy, including ways to counter a surge in the prices of basic commodities.

In March, Egypt officially requested support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to implement the country’s comprehensive economic programme amid the ongoing global challenges.

The cabinet said in a statement that the new request for IMF support “possibly includes new financing” to support the country's plans for comprehensive economic reforms.

The announcement came shortly after the government let the Egyptian pound depreciate by 14 percent – the highest decline in five years – in light of the crisis.

Egypt, which relied on Ukraine and Russia for around 80 percent of its wheat imports, has started working on diversifying sources of wheat imports and doled out monetary incentives to farmers to encourage them to supply the largest possible amounts of wheat to the government.

Egypt also said it plans to diversify sources for its tourism market in light of an anticipated drop in visitors from Russia and Ukraine, which comprise the largest groups of tourists to the country.

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