Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat stressed on Friday the importance of Egyptian-Russian relations that grew over the past years.
The strategic partnership is reflected in many major projects being implemented, such as the Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant project that costs $25 billion, and the Russian Industrial Zone in the Suez Canal Economic Zone that is expected to bring in investment amounting to $7 billion, Al-Mashat said during her participation in the “Russia-Africa” session that took place as part of the 24th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
This forum is considered a global leading event that tackles economic challenges faced by the world and emerging countries. The SPIEF takes place this year under the theme of “A Collective Reckoning of the New Global Economic Reality.”
Alongside Al-Mashat, the panel was attended by Prime Minister of Central Africa Firmin Ngrébada, Prime Minister of Rwanda Édouard Ngirente, Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology at the African Union Commission Sarah Agbor, Deputy Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikhail Bogdanov, General Director of Transmashholding Kirill Lipa, Chairman of The Association of Economic Cooperation with the African States at the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Saltanov, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of URALCHEM Dmitry Konyaev.
Al-Mashat mentioned that the Russian-African Summit and Economic Forum was co-chaired by the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi and the Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2019; highlighting Egypt’s regional role as the gateway for Russian businesses in the African continent in light of strong Egyptian-African relations.
Al-Mashat tackled the available opportunities that would enhance the Egyptian-Russian-African cooperation, within the framework of Egypt’s distinguished position and its strategic relations in the African continent.
The minister stated that the Free Trade Agreement between Egypt and countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia) could play a key role in strengthening the Russian-African Trade Exchange between the African and the European Union; and in the establishment of vocational training and entrepreneurship centers in partnership between Egypt and Russia.
The training centers shall be based in Egypt, where there would be an exchange of experiences and visions to train African cadres; with an emphasis on the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) sector.
In September 2019, Egypt launched an initiative to test a million African citizens for the Hepatitis C virus and provided treatment for patients.
Egypt also worked in various infrastructure projects; and within the aviation sector, EgyptAir signed a memorandum of understanding to establish Ghana Airways Limited with joint investments. In transportation, Egypt recently signed a cooperation agreement with Sudan in the railway sector to build a line between Aswan and Wadi Halfa, Sudan.
Moreover, in water and irrigation, Egypt is working to build the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station, a hydroelectric dam in Tanzania. In construction, the Arab Contractors company is also implementing projects across 23 African countries that cost about $1.5 billion, and this includes an electrical linkage project between Africa and Europe.
She affirmed that the joint African relations are a huge opportunity to accelerate growth, as the area of the Free-Trade African Agreement will contribute to reducing commodity prices, increasing Africa’s competitiveness on the global level which would also attract more investments.
Africa’s population rate is very high; indicators estimate that by 2050, Africa will contribute to a 50% population growth rate, which enhances the available growth opportunities.