A Continental Free Trade agreement between 26 African countries is to be launch from Egypt in June, Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour announced Wednesday.
The agreement, which is to involve 60% of local production, is to kick off in Sharm El-Sheikh, Abdel Nour said at the ‘Here is Africa’ conference which was held at Cairo University.
“It is a dream that needs effort,” the minister said.
At the conference, the Foreign Minister’s assistant for African Affairs, Sabry Magdy, stated that African matters are at the top of Egyptian foreign policies, adding that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s first visit following his inauguration was to an African country, noting Al-Sisi’s meetings with African ambassadors as well as with environment ministers in March.
Magdy highlighted Egypt’s role in tackling catastrophes and epidemics in Africa, such as Ebola, and its “new chapter” with the Nile Basin countries after the signing of the Grand Ethiopian Renascence Dam (GERD) principles agreement in March. He also said that Egypt has the highest political representation in Africa.
“Relations with Africa have now moved from negligence to interest and from individual work to group work,” the foreign ministry official said.
Egypt ranks 10th in UN peacekeeping forces deployment, Magdy said, with forces present in Darfur, Cote Devoir, Congo, Mali and others in attempts of achieving stability in Africa.
He pointed out the urgency of “other financial sources” so Africa can be able to tackle its issues on its own.
“We are certain of African support of Egypt’s candidacy for UN non-permanent membership in the peacekeeping committee,” he said.
“There is no political conflict [among African countries],” said Somali ambassador to Egypt Abdulllah Hassan. “We are all partners in facing terrorism,” he added.