Egypt is keen on strengthening its strategic partnership with France as an important pillar for maintaining security and stability in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has said.
Al-Sisi stressed the importance of economic and commercial cooperation between Egypt and France, and highlighted the priority of boosting French investments in the country.
Egypt represents a promising market and a doorway for French exports to different markets in the region, due to the former’s central geographical locales. It is also supported by the free trade agreements Cairo signed, as well as the incentives and advantages available for investing in the country.
In June, Al-Sisi met France’s Minister of Finance Bruno Le Maire for discussions on Egyptian-French economic and commercial cooperation, and ways to boost French investments in Egypt.
Le Maire asserted the depth of the strategic relations between the two countries, and stressed that France was keen to support Egypt by boosting and diversifying its investment in the country. This would also see an enhancement of joint cooperation in all fields.
He further announced that France would be providing €1.8bn in finance to Egyptian projects, adding that the financing will cover projects in several sectors, including public transport, renewable energy, and water management.
The financing includes a loan of about €800m from the French Treasury for the development of the Cairo Metro’s Line 1. An additional €1bn will be financed by the French Development Agency (AFD), covering nine other projects over the next five years.
Le Maire also revealed that an additional €2bn of state-guaranteed loans will be negotiated in the next six months, which will be used to establish the Cairo Metro’s Line 6.
Additionally, Egypt’s Ministry of Trade and Industry announced on Monday that the country’s exports to France in the period between January and April 2021 increased by 11% to reach €236,28m.
This compared to approximately €212,1m in the same period last year, which contributed to a decrease in the volume of the Egyptian trade deficit with France by 23.12%.
The ministry stated that the value of French investments in Egypt increased in fiscal year (FY) 2019/20 to record $349m, compared to $296m in FY 2018/19, an increase of 17.9%.
In late June, Egypt handed over the management, operation, and maintenance of Cairo Metro’s Line 3 to the French transport firm, RTP Dev, in a move designed to provide better transport services for Egyptian citizens.
The French company is taking over from Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) under a 15-year contract worth €1.1bn.
Moreover, in early July, the Egyptian Minister of Transportation Kamel El-Wazir met RATP Dev Chairperson Laurence Batlle, to sign the contract for the management and operation of the light electric train LRT system. The system covers the Al-Salam City, the New Administrative Capital (NAC), and the 10th of Ramadan areas.
The talks dealt with the plan to improve the management and operation of the Cairo Metro Line 3, as well as preparing for the management and operation of the LRT electric train.
In addition to this, the two sides discussed the mechanism for raising the revenues of the Line 3 and the electric train from commercial and advertising activities.
Regarding technology cooperation, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat met with a number of French companies. During his meeting, the minister discussed aspects of cooperation in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), especially related to smart city systems and applications.
This will take place in partnership with Business France, and the Mouvement des Entreprises de France (MEDEF).
The meeting was an opportunity to find out more about the capabilities of French companies in this field, especially since France has significant experience in establishing smart cities. It also reflected the depth of strategic relations between Egypt and France, especially in the field of AI.