Sisi expresses to Macron keenness to benefit from French expertise in Egyptian project to develop countryside

Ahram Online , Saturday 28 Aug 2021

The Decent Life initiative aims at improving standards of living, infrastructure, and services for the approximately 59 million rural Egyptians who live in 4,658 villages across the country

From left, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, French President Emmanuel Macron and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian hold talks in Baghdad, 28 August 2021. Egyptian Presidency

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi expressed keenness to benefit from the French experience in the Egyptian project to develop the countryside as part of the national Decent Life initiative.

His remarks came in a meeting on Saturday with French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the Baghdad Conference on Cooperation and Partnership in Baghdad, the Egyptian presidency said in a statement.

The Decent Life initiative aims at improving standards of living, infrastructure, and services for the approximately 59 million rural Egyptians who live in 4,658 villages across the country.

El-Sisi launched the first phase of the countryside-focused project at the Cairo Stadium in mid-July.

During his Saturday meeting with Macron, El-Sisi affirmed Egypt’s keenness to maximise available capabilities of both countries, especially in the fields of transportation, renewable energy and the manufacturing of trains and electric vehicles, the presidency added.

El-Sisi also called for enhancing political consultation with France on the regional and international issues of mutual concern, especially the issues related to sustainable development and support for peace and security in the region.

The Egyptian leader also encouraged French companies to benefit from the investment opportunities available in Egypt, transfer expertise and localise industries in Egypt, especially in terms of the mega national projects.

Macron, during the meeting, hailed Egypt’s firm relations with France and the unprecedented, significant progress in these relations recently in various fields, especially on the level of economic and commercial ties, the Egyptian presidency said.

The French president also stressed his country’s keenness to intensify coordination and consultation with Egypt as one of its most important partners in the region.

Macron hailed Egypt’s role in establishing the pillars of stability in the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Africa.

He also praised Egypt’s role in countering terrorism, extremist thought as well as illegal emigration.

According to the presidency, the meeting discussed enhancing France’s involvement, through its developmental institutions, in Egypt’s priority developmental plans in various fields.

The meeting also tackled the need to boost French investments in Egypt and enhance economic cooperation between the two countries, the Presidency added.

Egypt has been intensifying economic and political cooperation with France over the past years. Trade volume between Egypt and France was estimated at $2.4 billion in 2019 and $2.2 billion in 2020 during pandemic, according to a report by the Egyptian state’s statistical agency CAPMAS last May.

El-Sisi held talks in May and June of this year with France’s Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire to review means of boosting French investments in Egypt and enhancing economic cooperation.

Also in June, Egypt signed development financing agreements with France that amount to €1.76 billion in light of a new financing package between Egypt and France for 2021/2026.

The agreements cover various sectors, particularly transportation.

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