The UK will establish a new finance facility, located in Egypt, that aims to reinforce trade ties between the two countries, particularly in the exports sector, said Emma Wade-Smith, the UK’s Trade Commissioner for Africa.
Wade-Smith made her statements during a virtual event held on Tuesday, attended by Ahram Online and organised by the British-Egyptian Business Association (BEBA).
The event discussed the UK’s and Egypt’s partnership for the promotion of sustainable manufacturing in Africa.
Wade-Smith unveiled that the new facility will be announced within a few weeks.
She noted that Egypt is at the top of the UK’s investments and businesses priorities in Africa, adding that Egypt has managed to maintain its positive economic growth in 2020 and 2021 despite the ongoing challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
In light of that, Egypt has exciting economic prospects that can attract more British businesspersons to invest in its market, according to Wade-Smith.
“We see significant opportunities in Egypt to be tapped, particularly in sustainable infrastructure, green economy, education, healthcare, and agri-business”, Wade-Smith explained.
She also pointed to Egypt’s energy sector, saying that it has good potential, especially in renewable energy, emphasising that the UK supports Egypt’s strategy to be an energy hub.
Additionally, Wade-Smith said that green recovery is in the heart of Egypt’s policy for growth, and this is one of the fields that the UK is interested in regarding investment and doing business in Egypt.
Egypt is the largest export market for the UK’s exports to Africa, with a total of GBP 3 billion out of GBP 28 billion worth of exports sold in Egypt per year, according to Wade-Smith.
She added that the UK, in the wake of leaving the European Union (EU), targets unleashing new opportunities to invest and do business with all markets across the globe, including Africa, and to establish new independent trade deals with all countries.
In this regard, Wade-Smith said that the UK managed, so far, to make trade deals with 46 African countries, including Egypt.
For the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), Wade-Smith said that it is an important deal to be tapped, especially that it provides access to a market with 3.5 billion people and facilitates the flow of products and services across the continent.
She also clarified that the UK’s Department of International Trade supports the connections between African companies who seek to receive investments and UK investors who are willing to invest in them, adding that the UK is committed to enhance African intra-trade.
Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the AfCFTA, said that the bloc is a potential game changer for the continent, especially in industry, manufacturing, and productive capacity enhancement.
He added that the agreement aims at ramping up industry and manufacturing in the continent and that it can be achieved through attracting investments to such sectors, including British investments.
Mene also pointed out that the agreement represents a significant opportunity to focus on establishing regional value chains, especially in pharmaceutical industries in light of many countries in the continent having no access, so far, to vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic, unlike other countries globally.
For his part, Ahmed El-Sewedy the president and CEO of El-Sewedy Electric, noted that Egypt is a good floor for infrastructure investments, adding that Egypt is witnessing unprecedented infrastructure projects - chiefly in road networks.
He added that Egypt enjoys many potentials to be tapped by investors, especially since key global markets in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Indian Subcontinent are all readily accessible from Egypt.
Moreover, Egypt is a closer point to the European and North American markets than major exporters such as China, India, and the Philippines, according to El-Sewedy.