President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi returned to Egypt from Germany on November 20th after concluding a three-day visit that began on November 17th, during which he conducted several meetings aiming to attract German investments to Egypt as well as African countries. The president also attended the G20-Initiative Compact with Africa (CwA) summit, which Egypt headed this year, to boost mutual economic relations between Germany and Africa.
During the visit, the president met German Chancellor Angela Merkel, where they discussed regional and international issues of mutual concern such as the current situation in Libya, the Syrian crisis, and the Palestinian cause.
Al Sisi also met business leaders and heads of major German industrial companies as part of Egypt's strategy to encourage investment and promote comprehensive development efforts, and he reviewed the developments of economic reform in Egypt and the updates of the implementation of development projects already underway. On the sidelines of the CwA, agreements between Egypt and Germany were signed at the value of €300 billion.
The signed agreements included two financial and technical cooperation agreements, worth €44.9 million for FY2017, to finance several projects in the fields of energy, rehabilitation of schools, education, employment promotion, small and medium enterprises, urban infrastructure, and promotion of labour market access. Additionally, another two financial and technical cooperation agreements, worth €101 million for FY2018, were signed to support projects in the fields of energy, SMEs, private sector innovation, drinking water and sanitation management, solid waste management, social development, and employment. A €151.5 million protocol for FY2019 was signed between Egypt and Germany to finance several projects in the fields of electricity, renewable energy, technical education and employment, innovation in the private sector, and small and medium enterprises.
Political analyst Hassan Abu Taleb told 7Dnews that Egypt’s relations with Germany as well as many other foreign countries were affected during the rule of late Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. “Since Al Sisi came to power, he exerted his utmost efforts to improve Egypt’s relations with the western countries. Accordingly, Egypt’s diplomatic and consequently economic relations with European countries, among them Germany, have improved swiftly,” said Abu Taleb.
German leaders, according to Abu Taleb, believe in Egypt’s main role in stabilising the Middle East and Africa, especially in combating terrorism and illegal migration. “This is in addition to accomplishing interfaith coexistence and supporting peaceful resolutions for the regional crises,” said Abu Taleb.
Abu Taleb believes that the African continent is characterised by its unique geographical location, political will, and clear vision to implement reforms and projects targeting regional connections and integration.
Meanwhile, veteran economist Besheir Abdel-Fattah revealed to 7Dnews that the Egyptian economy has been experiencing great difficulties since the toppling of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The annual trade volume between Egypt and Germany is €5.5 billion, according to Abdel-Fattah, and exports are likely to grow in light of the positive economic outlook for Europe. Germany is interested in working with Egypt in areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and it thus provided export and investment guarantees to pave the way for further trade agreements.
According to Abdel-Fattah, Germany is interested in supporting African economies because Africa is an important market for Germany and is a source of raw materials. The growing economic cooperation between Egypt and Germany is increasing, as “Egypt and Germany have a lot of common interests,” said Abdel-Fattah, adding that German-Egyptian relations have witnessed great developments during the past six years, so the president is therefore investing this strength for the sake of both Egypt and African countries.
This is Al Sisi’s third summit of the Partnership for Africa organised by the G20, which contributes to the consolidation of Egypt’s role in promoting development efforts in the African continent. It also underlines the depth and solidity of relations between the Egyptian and German sides at the bilateral and regional levels.
President Al-Sisi was invited to participate in the summit by German Chancellor Merkel, with the aim of opening high-level channels of dialogue with leaders of African countries to enhance the business environment and increase investment opportunities in the continent.
Since Germany’s chairmanship of the G20 in 2017, Merkel has embraced the Partnership for Africa/CwA initiative to promote sustainable economic growth and stability on the continent. Egypt, Ethiopia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, and Tunisia are currently participating in the initiative.