Sat, 2021-06-05 21:31

CAIRO: Egypt represents a link and a starting point for Russian businesses in Africa, Rania Al-Mashat, minister of international cooperation, said on Friday.

She was speaking at the Russia-Africa session that took place as part of the 24th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.

She highlighted the importance of bilateral relations that had grown over the past few years, and said the strategic partnership was reflected in many major projects that were being implemented, such as the $25 billion Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant project and the Russian Industrial Zone in the Suez Canal Economic Zone, which is expected to bring in investment worth $7 billion.

The Russian-African Summit and Economic Forum was co-chaired by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2019, she added, emphasizing Egypt’s regional role as the gateway for Russian businesses in the continent in light of strong Egyptian-African ties.

Al-Mashat said the free trade agreement between Egypt and countries of the Eurasian Economic Union — Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia — could play a key role in strengthening the Russian-African trade exchange between the African Union and the EU.

The minister said Egypt was working on plans to strengthen mutual relations with most African countries through the implementation of huge projects, which she outlined in her remarks.

In Sept. 2019, Egypt launched an initiative to screen 1 million African citizens to detect the hepatitis C virus and provide treatment to patients.

It was working on the implementation of infrastructure projects in the field of aviation, with EgyptAir signing an agreement to establish a Ghanaian national airline through joint investments.

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Egypt had recently signed a cooperation agreement with Sudan in the railway sector to build a line between Aswan and Wadi Halfa.

In the field of water resources and irrigation, Egypt was building the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station in Tanzania.

In the field of construction, the Arab Contractors company was implementing projects across 23 African countries costing about $1.5 billion, including an electrical project between Africa and Europe.

Africa’s population rate was very high, the minister added, and indicators estimated that by 2050 the continent would contribute to a 50 percent population growth rate which “enhances the available growth opportunities.”

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