Canadian companies continued to invest in and trade with Egypt despite pandemic: Minister Sajjan

Hany Assal, Monday 29 Aug 2022

Harjit Sajjan, the Canadian minister of international development, said despite the continued repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic on the global economy, bilateral trade between Egypt and Canada remained stable in 2021.

Harjit Sajjan
Harjit Sajjan, the minister of international development of Canada

 

The average trade exchange between both countries amounted to about $1.6 billion between 2018 to 2021, Sajjan said in an interview with Al-Ahram daily newspaper published Monday.

Furthermore, Canadian companies continued to invest in Egypt, especially in the petrochemicals and oil and gas fields, while Canadian mining companies have began recently making their way into Egypt’s mineral exploration sector, he noted.

He also underscored that there is a good opportunity to cooperate with Egypt in the fields of energy, water and agriculture. Sajjan said he, as development minister, seeks to find such opportunities with Egypt, especially in the field of renewable energy.

"Egypt has taken very important steps in the fields of water and energy, and is on a good path in the use of seeds, agricultural fertilisers and in facing eco-related conundrums," he pointed out.

The Canadian minister, who paid a visit to to Egypt recently, indicated that the country can become a model for others, even Western countries.

He stressed that Canada, with its considerable experience and technological and innovative capabilities, can assist the agricultural and food sectors in Egypt to deal with the challenges of climate change.

This includes management systems for dryland agriculture, especially in water and sanitation management, expansion of Egypt’s production of lentils, and diversification of agricultural crops, in addition to the use of agricultural fertilisers and updating food security protocols.

Sajjan said Canada, through its $ 5.3 billion climate commitment, will work with developing countries such as Egypt to support efforts to adapt to climate change via the use of smart technology in agriculture and food system practices, as well as in providing nature-based agricultural solutions that fit climate preservation efforts.

Canada also supports developing a global strategy for food security based on local solutions for each country, and dealing with emerging challenges, he stressed.

Sajjan also revealed that Canada intends to work with Egypt to contribute $10 million to the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) new climate-finance initiative in Upper Egypt's governorate of Aswan and in Nile Delta's governorates of Beheira and Kafr El-Sheikh.

As for climate change, he said Canada is prioritising working with local and international actors to help developing countries, including Egypt, to transition to the use of materials with low carbon footprints, face climate challenges and deal with the environment in a positive manner.

He also expressed his country's happiness with Egypt for hosting of the coming UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in November, while offering assurances that "Canada agrees that the developed countries must assume their responsibilities and contribute to providing assistance to developing countries in facing the impact of climate change."

As for the long-standing issue caused by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, he said: "We understand the importance of water security for all countries, and we know that many countries depend on the Nile as a source of water."

"Of course, any country that tries to take action, this action affects other countries, and we always support the principle of water availability to everyone and in accordance with each country's need."

"We find water in some countries’ overflows, and does not in others. When I visited Sudan recently, I found that there were many floods. So, each party should consider the other."

Canada also understands the economic importance of the GERD to Ethiopia, and accordingly it encourages regional cooperation between the three countries, through the support of regional organisations, such as the African Union.

"It is very important that the countries concerned agree on the main principles of water management via their borders," the Canadian minister said.

As for Egypt's efforts in dealing with refugees, Sajjan also praised Egypt for hosting, supporting and integrating refugees into the Egyptian society instead of putting them in refugee camps, adding: "we are here to know the actual needs and how can we support Egypt in the best manner."

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