El-Sisi’s visit to Zambia, which started in the late hours of Wednesday, is the first-of-its-kind visit and the second stop of the Egyptian president’s Africa tour that began with visiting Angola, where he met with President João Lourenço on Wednesday,
During the meeting, the Zambian president stressed his country's keenness to develop cooperative relations with Egypt and advance it towards broader horizons of joint action, said a statement by Presidential Spokesperson Ahmed Fahmy.
Hichilema expressed his country’s keenness to continue consultations with Egypt on the issues and challenges facing Africa, especially in light of the pioneering role Egypt plays in Africa under the leadership of El-Sisi. He also praised Egypt's efforts to advance the development process and maintain peace and security in the continent.
For his part, El-Sisi confirmed that Egypt seeks to strengthen the historical relations between the two countries and activate the frameworks of cooperation in various fields, especially increasing trade exchange and exploring opportunities for mutual investment. In addition, the president stated that Egypt will continue to provide different forms of support and capacity-building to our brothers in Zambia.
The volume of trade exchange between Egypt and Zambia increased to $328.9 million in 2022, up from $322.1 million in 2021 – a 2.1 percent increase, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).
The value of Egyptian exports to Zambia increased by 33 percent, from $ 11.4 million in 2021 to $15.2 million in 2022. On the other hand, the value of Egyptian imports from Zambia increased by 1 percent, from $310.7 million in 2021 to $313.7 million in 2022.
According to Fahmy, the meeting addressed enhancing bilateral relations at various levels. The two leaders agreed on the importance of activating the existing cooperation mechanisms between the two sides and working on developing economic ties and trade exchanges between them.
The two presidents also tackled supporting economic development efforts in Zambia, especially in infrastructure development, highlighting that Zambia could benefit from the expertise of Egyptian companies in this field.
Fahmy said the meeting also addressed increasing cooperation between the two countries in agriculture, livestock, fish farming, and health.
The president will then visit Mozambique on the last leg of his Africa tour.
COMESA 22nd Summit
El-Sisi will participate in the 22nd COMESA Heads of State and Governments Summit in the Zambian capital Lusaka.
During the summit, Egypt – which has chaired the continental bloc since 2021 – will hand over the COMESA chairmanship to Zambia, which previously hosted the COMESA summit in 2018.
As the chair of COMESA, Egypt has played a pivotal role in advancing regional integration on the continental level, particularly through the development of intra-regional trade in Africa.
The total volume of trade exchange between Egypt and the COMESA countries amounted to $4.2 billion in 2021, a whopping 100 percent increase over the $2 billion figure recorded in 2020, according to a recent report by Minister of Trade and Industry Ahmed Samir.
In 2021, Egypt exported $2.8 billion and imported $1.4 billion in goods within the bloc.
Egypt's trade with COMESA countries constituted 22.5 percent of the total intra-bloc trade volume in 2021, according to Samir.
The Zambian president stated that the COMESA has made many achievements under Egypt’s presidency. For his part, El-Sisi expressed his sincere wishes to Hichilema to succeed in leading the COMESA and continue working on advancing its frameworks of cooperation.
Twenty-one African leaders – representing the 21 states that are members of the COMESA – will participate in the summit, which focuses on promoting development and economic and trade integration among COMESA members.
The theme of the 22nd Summit is "Economic Integration for a Thriving COMESA Anchored on Green Investment, Value Addition, and Tourism."
According to the COMESA website, the theme reflects the need to address the current regional and global economic and trade dynamics, including the effects of COVID-19 and their adverse impact on tourism-dependent economies.
Moreover, the summit will discuss the current geopolitical issues, including the conflict in Eastern Europe, high debt burdens, and extreme weather conditions, all of which continue to weigh heavily on regional economies and affect global supply chains.
COMESA was founded in December 1994 to replace the former Preferential Trade Area (PTA) organization (established in 1981).
It is an organization of free independent sovereign states that agreed to cooperate in developing their natural and human resources for the good of all their people.
COMESA forms a massive marketplace for both internal and external trading.
The population of the member states exceeds 538 million; they have a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $ 850 billion.
In addition, the bloc’s global export and import trade in goods amounts to $ 324 billion.