Peru has been suffering a lot during the last period from political crises that led to conversations among with the government and the political forces in order to reaffirm the democracy. However, the relations between Egypt and Peru remain strong. Daily News Egypt interviewed the newly appointed Peruvian ambassador to Egypt José Jesús Guillermo Betancourt Rivera to learn more about the situation in Peru and his plan for strengthening the relations between the two countries.We support national dialogue to achieve political stability in Peru, says Rivera
Peru has been suffering from a political crisis recently, what is the current situation in the country?
Peru is a democratic state that respects the constitution, and Dina Boluarte is our legal and legitimate President of Peru. She won her position through a constitutional process, and she is doing whatever is necessary in order to stabilize the country. I have to emphasize that President Dina is doing what the Constitution and the law permits her to do, because we respect human rights and law. Our country enjoys democracy and respects the freedom of speech and press, but everything has to be done with due respect to the law.
Peru is a democratic country with a democratic government, and I am sure in the coming years, it will continue its path of success.
I am not a politician, journalist, or analyst; I am a career diplomat representing Peru. Peruvian ambassadors have a lot of things to do. We live now in democracy and our current president is forming a government in accordance with the constitution. We have to trust the process, and respect regulations within the legal framework of Peru. Every solution has to go through a democratic debate among all political and social forces. We support a national dialogue, but we have to think first in our national interests as a country. Our main interest is to promote Peru’s interests.
How do you evaluate the relations between Egypt and Peru? And as a new Ambassador what is your goal here in Egypt?
The relationship between Peru and Egypt is outstanding. This year, we are going to celebrate our 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Our relationship is strong with a lot of common grounds. Both countries are birthplaces of antique, prestigious, and old civilizations, which are the Egyptian Pharaonic civilization and the Inca Peruvian civilization. This is a unique thing that represents a strong link between our countries.
My goal here in Egypt is to increase, diversify, and strengthen this relationship. We have plans to do a lot of things to strengthen our relations in business, trade, investment, and culture. We are going to hold webinars and exchange business visits.
Having said that the potential is huge, the relationship is perfect, but it could be better, and my purpose is to try with the assistance of my team to achieve this goal and to strengthen the relationship between Egypt and Peru.
We have a relationship that is based on mutual respect. We respect Egypt`s history and position as a key country in the Middle East. Egypt is one of the most beautiful countries on earth, and the Egyptians respect the history of Peru as a country that respects democracy and the rule of law. We are on the right path and work together to strengthen the relations between our two countries.
You mentioned that there will be mutual visits between the two countries. Are there any planned visits to Egypt in the near future?
These are ideas that we are working on. These initiatives will take place in April, June, and July.
My purpose is to invite people in Peru to come here to Egypt and to invite people from Egypt to go the other way, because we need to strengthen our cooperation in economic fields.
We have great potential, as we export things that you import and we import things from Egypt too. But the trade exchange has to be improved, and I think the only way to improve it is through conducting mutual visits between the two countries in order to allow the business community to explore the potentials better.
Academic and cultural exchanges are also important. We need to have more conferences, academic events, and academic visits.
Egypt and Peru are very rich in terms of history and archeology, so there are so many things that we can work on together. We can do a lot in terms of culture and academics, but also we need to do more in terms of trade and investments.
You mentioned that there are a lot of cooperation files that Egypt and Peru can work on, which area of cooperation do you think need to be enhanced?
Renewable and green energy are fields that we can work on together during this year and next year. We can exchange knowledge and experiences.
In addition, we can cooperate in the infrastructure field, as Egypt has the tradition of building mega projects, and Peru is interested in this field.
Peru and Egypt have huge agribusiness industries, so we can cooperate also in the agribusiness.
In addition, Peru has its National Institute of Science and Technology. Egypt also invests a lot in science, technology, innovation, so we can work in these fields.
I want to mention that there are many fields that we can work on. That’s why it’s very important that in this year, authorities from Peru and Egypt have to have a bilateral reunion conversation in order to push this bilateral agenda that is in our mutual interests.
How do you assess the Egypt-Peru trade exchange during 2022?
The trade exchange between Egypt and Peru during 2022 was around $28m, in which Peru exports to Egypt recorded $6m, and our import reached around $21.4m. The trade balance is in favor of Egypt, so Peru needs to export more to Egypt.
The main products that we import from Egypt include glasses, potassium, vegetables, and white cement, while the main products that Peru exports to Egypt include copper compounds, Karimine, fruits, and nuts.
What is the volume of Peruvian foreign direct investments in Egypt? And in which sectors are those investments focused?
There is an important Peruvian business group in Egypt named Aje group, this group invests around $40m, it has a factory in Giza and it produces soft drinks including Big Cola. This is a huge investment but we need to invest more and we need to see more Egyptian investments in Peru. There are other Peruvian companies in Egypt as well.
How do Peru companies view the current economic developments and investment opportunities in Egypt? What challenges do they face in Egypt?
Egypt is a great country with a huge potential, we admire the history of Egypt, and we have a lot of respect for the Egyptian authorities. The Peruvian don’t face any obstacles, as the treat is really nice. The only thing that we need is to have the information on where it will be possible to invest.
I think the better fields that either the Peruvian companies can invest in Egypt or the Egyptians can invest in Peru are renewable energy, the mega projects, infrastructure, airports, highways, agriculture, and agribusiness, science and technologies. In addition, we have more academic reunions between Egyptian professors and Peruvian professors. We need to do more and that’s what we have been doing since my arrival three months ago.
Talking about the economic aspect, there has been a controversial topic which is unifying one currency for Latin American countries, some leaders thought this might be the solution for confronting the global economic crisis, so what`s your opinion on that matter?
This topic is very delicate, it means a lot of issues related to sovereignty, to authority of law, and personally, I think that right now we are not in the level of development to promote such an idea. Theoretically it sounds very good, but not through our pragmatic assessment of reality, as it is not so easy.
This is a nice discussion between the economists, intellectuals, and people but it is very difficult to go through, because each country has its own interest, and each country has the obligation to defend their currencies, and to unify one currency for all the Latin American countries is not easy.