INSPIRATION TO ALL OF US.
25 November 2021
Egypt’s Ambassador to South Africa, H.E. Ahmed El Fadly, chaired a
session during the Egyptian Day component the Intra-African Trade Fair
IATF2021 that took place from the 15th to the 21st of this month in
Durban, entitled “Egypt’s Role in Achieving Integration in Africa:
The Africa We Want”, during which Egypt’s vision of how to achieve
integration on the African continent through industry and trade was
showcased. That vision put forth how African countries can move from a
stage of poverty management to one wealth creation.
At the beginning of the session, Ambassador El Fadly addressed the
importance of achieving integration on the continent within a new
framework that goes beyond the traditional geographical divisions
inherited from colonialism (North, South, East, West and Central). He
pointed to the Cairo-Cape road as one alternative framework for
integration, citing that the road links together nine African countries
from North to South, including two of Africa’s largest economic
powerhouses, Egypt and South Africa, and that these countries combined
represent a third of the continent’s population and half of its GDP.
He emphasized that were these nine countries to deepen the economic ties
between them, they would greatly elevate the state of economic
integration on the continent and create a model for others to follow.
This he said can only be achieved if the effort was led by both Egypt
and South Africa, and must start by the deepening of economic ties
between them. This he said would be greatly helped by the recent launch
of the African Continental Free Trade Area AfCFTA, which will increase
the exchange of trade and joint investments between African countries,
helping all Africans achieve “the Africa we want”.
Mr. Mohamed El-Masry, First Vice-President of the Federation of Egyptian
Chambers of Commerce, presented the economic reform steps taken by the
Egyptian government during the past six years and its contribution to
stabilizing markets and achieving economic development. He stressed the
importance of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, and the
need for it to be supported by establishing networks of integrated
roads, ports and other means of connectivity and communication within
the continent, as well as by removing non-tariff barriers.
For his part Engineer Ahmed El Sewedy, Chairman of the Board of
Directors of El Sewedy Electric Company, also highlighted the projects
that the company is carrying out in a number of African countries,
including Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Zambia, as models of success in
terms of African cooperation. He stressed the importance of the fact
that these projects are being done in African countries, by African
companies, using African sources of finance.
Another key area the session focused on was Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Maged
George, Chairman of the Export Council for medical industries, laid out
Egypt’s experience in localizing the production of medical supplies,
and how this can be translated to the wider continent. He said that
there are still serious challenges to trade among African markets,
including logistical challenges such as transport, shipping and banking
transactions. He added that Egypt envisions overcoming those challenges
in the pharmaceutical sector by establishing Egyptian factories in 12
African countries, through an alliance between different Egyptian
pharmaceutical companies, to produce medicine in those countries, and
exporting medicines to neighboring countries.
Ms. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Governance and Traditional
Affairs in the Presidency, participated in the session, and commented on
the proceedings saying “It’s very exciting for us to see how Egypt
is developing … and to see Egypt driving Agenda 2063: the Africa we
Want, is an inspiration to all of us”. She also highlighted the
importance of the “Cairo-Cape Town” road in achieving African
integration, noting the importance of the role of women and youth in
achieving the desired economic development in Africa.
Ambassador Ahmed El Fadly also emphasized that women and youth have a
pivotal role in all aspects of development, pointing out that there are
eight women ministers in the Egyptian government and two deputy
ministers that are working on issues related to development. He also
referred to the leadership of women and youth in the private sector and
particularly in the field of small and medium-sized enterprises, noting
the presence of a number of them at the exhibition. El Fadly also
highlighted a number of Egyptian initiatives to integrate women and
youth in decision-making in Egypt, pointing to the Egyptian President
Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s adoption of the annual “World Youth
Conference” initiative, which is hosted annually in Egypt.
At the end of the session, a contract worth one billion dollars was
signed between El Sewedy Electric Company and the government of Malawi,
to implement a number of strategic projects, including hydropower
projects, solar power plants and e-government, funded by the African
Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK). El Fadly described the contract as one
of the largest deals concluded during the exhibition and a tangible
example of Egypt’s commitment to achieving integration and reaching the
“Africa we want”.
By: Ayman Walash Counselor- Head of the Press & Information Office
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt