Russia uses ruble, Egyptian pound currency settlement in trade exchange with Egypt: Ambassador

Ahram Online , Saturday 17 Sep 2022

Moscow uses local currency settlement mechanism in trade exchange between Russia and Egypt - mutual acceptance of payments in the Russian ruble or the Egyptian pound - amid western sanctions that have blocked the country's access to the dollar and euro since the start of the Ukraine crisis, Russian Ambassador to Cairo Georgy Borisenko said.

Mir
A combined image of half hundred Ruble and one Egyptian pound.

 

In an interview with Sada El-Balad TV on Thursday, Borisenko explained that Russia uses a similar local currency settlement mechanism in its trade exchange with China – the Russian ruble and the Chinese yuan  - under the framework of the Russian System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS).

Russia has pushed the Russian SPFS system as an alternative to to the international messaging system SWIFT after major Russian banks were removed from the SWIFT system as per western sanctions against Moscow following the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war in February.

Russia has been attempting to expand the number of countries that allow Russians to make overseas payments via its Mir payment cards, which were first issued in 2014, after US-based Visa Inc and Mastercard payments firms halted operations in Russia.

A number of countries have approved the use of Mir cards, including Turkey, Cuba, South Korea, and Vietnam.

Borisenko said Russia is working with the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to approve the use of Mir bank cards in payments in Egypt soon*.

The approval of the use of the Mir card in Egypt will increase the number of Russian tourists to the country, the ambassador added.

Russian Egyptian economic cooperation

Egypt and Russia have enjoyed strong economic cooperation in the last several years, with trade exchange between the two countries reaching $4.7 billion in 2021 compared to $2.7 billion in 2018.

Russian tourists comprise the largest group of visitors to Egypt in recent years, bringing in millions in much needed foreign currencies to the country.

In 2021, more than 700,000 Russian tourists visited Egypt in 2021, according to figures reported by Borisenko last February.

In July of 2021, Russia lifted a six-year ban on direct flights to Egyptian Red Sea resort.

There are no official numbers for the total numbers and breakdown by country for tourists to Egypt so far in 2022.

Egypt relied on buying 80 percent of its wheat needs from Russia and Ukraine before the start of the war between the two countries.

The country continues to import wheat from Russia despite all disruptions in supply lines caused by the war.

Russia is also helping Egypt build its first-ever nuclear power plant to generate electricity for peaceful use.

 

* EGP = 3 Russian rubles

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