Egyptian economic experts and investors expect the pace of Russian investments in Egypt to increase in the next period, coinciding with deepening communications and trade relations between the two parties.
“Egypt needs to complete economic reforms to reassure Russian investors regarding investing in Egypt,” said Mohamed Farid, former assistant minister of investment. “Egypt is of great benefit to Russia, as it stands as a strategic gate for the Russian exports to Africa.”
Egypt purchased about 5.46m tonnes of wheat from abroad in the fiscal year (FY) 2013/2014, most of which were from Russia.
“Minister Khaled Hanafy will hold discussions with the Russian delegation during the economic forum that will take place in Cairo,” a Ministry of Supply source said. “The forum will be under the name of Industrial Commercial Dialogue and will be held on Monday. The discussion will be over the two Russian offers Egypt received with regards to launching an international logistic centre for cereals and grains in Damietta.”
The source added: “Russian banks are willing to invest and participate in the national project that will be launched in Egypt.”
“The success of Cairo-Moscow negotiations over importing wheat, gas, and strengthening tourism and nuclear cooperation requires seriousness to establish a new era of relations,” said Mostafa El-Naggari, member of the Agriculture Export Council (AEC) and Export Committee Chairman in the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association (EBA).
El-Naggari demanded that the government quickly resolve the crisis of currency shortage to strengthen trade exchange between Cairo and Moscow, saying: “The government should remove all obstacles in order to support joint investments. Egypt is one of the major trade partners for Russia in the field of seeds exports.”
He estimated Russian seeds exports to Egypt to be around $1.1bn during the first 11 months of 2014.
Former assistant to the executive director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Fakhry El-Feky believes that Egypt is ready to deepen commercial cooperation with Moscow, while starting the implementation of structural reforms in its public finances. This would start from regulating the currency exchange market to revising all legislations regulating and ruling economic activity, noting that these reforms should be completed.
“Russia has the potential to be very useful for Egyptian exports to get into the markets of Central Asia and large parts of Eastern Europe, especially agricultural and food exports,” says El-Feky.
Through the Industrial Commercial Dialogue forum that was launched Sunday, Egypt seeks to strengthen commercial cooperation with Moscow in innovative technology used in the shipbuilding industry, machinery engineering, and the manufacturing of agricultural machinery, in addition to transport machinery engineering and the aircraft industry. Moreover, Egypt seeks to make use of the Russian experience in the fields of medicine and pharmacy, engineering, as well as gas and oil technology.