The three African economic blocs, made up of COMESA, SADC and the East African Community, will be integrated into one free market, Minister of Industry and Trade Mounir Fakhri Abdel Nour announced in a closed meeting on Tuesday.
In the meeting, to prepare for the African Conference of the three blocs, Abdel Nour added that African countries ‘ economies are growing at a high rate.
The minister noted that Egyptian exports to Africa in 2013 accounted for $4.5bn of total Egyptian exports, which amounted to approximately $23bn.
Abdel Nour discussed with the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) how to activate the three African blocs through export promotion movement between Egypt and other African countries, according to FEI Chairman Mohammed Al-Suwaidi.
During a press conference, Al-Suwaidi confirmed that during the summit, which will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh from 7 to 10 June, an agreement gathering all the three blocs in one agreement will be signed, entitled the “Sharm El-Sheikh agreement”.
“This summit stems from our belief in the importance and the role of Africa, as it is the largest growing and promising market for Egyptian exports,” Al-Suwaidi added. “The reactivation of trade and exports movement between Egypt and Africa will solve a number of problems related to hard currency and high costs of shipping through the activation of the role of trade exchange stated in the COMESA agreement.”
Al-Suwaidi declared that the FEI will send an invitation to the African Development Bank (AFDB) to visit Egypt to take advantage of its expertise in activating the role of the Egyptian exhibitions abroad and how to make use of the funds provided by the bank, amounting $500m, to develop exportation in Africa.Al-Suwaidi added the visit is expected to take place in August.
He noted that the FEI submitted a proposal to the Egyptian cabinet regarding the allocated rate of the funds gathered from energy reduction (25%) to support exports, with the amount of EGP 5bn for four years to reduce the burden of some products through exportation.