More efforts have been made to create a new development paradigm, promoting high-quality development and getting off to a good start in implementing the 14th Five-Year Plan.
Despite the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerated evolution of major changes unseen in a century, and turbulence and transformation around the globe, China coordinated pandemic control and economic and social development, maintained a solid momentum of economic growth, and achieved fruitful results in China-Egypt economic and trade cooperation. China’s economic development will surely inject strong impetus and new vitality into China-Egypt cooperation .
1. Landscape of China’s Economy in 2021
The economic growth rate was at the forefront among the major economies. The annual GDP grew by 8.1% year on year to 114.367 trillion RMB. According to the latest forecast of the International Monetary Fund, China’s GDP would account for about 18% of the world economy, and the contribution to the world economy has increased steadily year after year.
Foreign trade and utilization of foreign investment grew rapidly. The total volume of import and export of goods was 39.1 trillion RMB, up by 21.4% year on year. Both of the export volume and China’s share in international market scaled new heights. The actually used foreign investment was 1.15 trillion RMB, up by 14.9% year on year.
New industries and new business models thrived. The added value of high-tech manufacturing sector increased by 18.2% year on year. The new generation of information technology gained speed in penetrating into new consumption fields such as online shopping, mobile payment, and integration of online and offline consumption.
Public well-being was effectively ensured. The growth of personal income was basically in step with economic growth, which further consolidated the gains of lifting all poor people out of poverty. Government spending in meeting people’s livelihoods kept expanding. Investment in education and health sectors increased by 11.7% and 24.5% respectively year on year. 12.69 million new urban jobs were added throughout the year, and the average rate of surveyed urban unemployment was 5.1%, down by 0.5 percentage points over the previous year.
The Chinese government continued to follow the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, and increased support for the real economy. Some of the policies on cutting taxes and fees were continued and improved, new measures of structural tax cuts were implemented, and costs on businesses in using land, network, road freight were all reduced. Reform and opening-up were further deepened to improve business environment. The top-level designing and working mechanism was built for carbon dioxide peaking and carbon neutrality. Strategies for regional development were implemented. Practical cooperation in the joint construction of the Belt and Road was deepen. RCEP took effect as scheduled.
2. China-Egypt Economic and Trade Cooperation Has Broad Prospects
China remained as Egypt’s largest trading partner for eight consecutive years in 2021, and has been one of the most active and fastest growing investors in Egypt in recent years. The total trade volume between China and Egypt increased by 37.3% year on year to reach US$19.98 billion, of which China’s imports from Egypt stood at US$1.71 billion, increasing by 85.2% year on year. In the first three quarters of 2021, China’s industry-wide direct investment in Egypt amounted to US$223 million, increasing by 150% year on year. Major projects such as the Central Business District of the New Administrative Capital and the 10th of Ramadan Railway Project progressed smoothly; the TEDA Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone provided direct and indirect employment opportunities for more than 40,000 Egyptians.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has provided Egypt with three batches of medical supplies and four batches of vaccines, assisted Egypt in establishing mask production lines, and signed the agreement on localized production of Chinese vaccines, which made Egypt the first country in Africa with COVID-19 vaccine production capacity. This year, China will provide 60 million doses of vaccine to Egypt. China-Egypt economic and trade cooperation has achieved fruitful results.
Recently, President Sisi attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games and had a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two leaders applauded the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Egypt, and expressed that the two sides would continue to dovetail Belt and Road Initiative and Egypt Vision 2030, maintain solidarity against the pandemic, and work together to address various challenges. This is the shared aspiration of the two leader and the two peoples.
2022 is a year full of challenges and opportunities coexisting in the context of profound changes in the world. While pursuing its own development, China will go hand in hand with Egypt to continuously deepen practical cooperation in all fields and firmly move toward the goal of building the China-Egypt community with a shared future in the new era.
* The writer is China Ambassador to Cairo