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  • Wednesday, 13 September 2023

With the Participation of the UAE Minister of Economy and the representative of the Saudi Council of Ministers: Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat Participates in the Policy Dialogue on “Tapping into the Potential of the Middle East” within the activities of the 8th Belt and Road Summit in Hong Kong

● Minister of International Cooperation: Egyptian-Chinese relations are going through a historic transformation since the signing of the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement between the leaders of both countries. 

● The partnership with China is witnessing major developments at the level of investments, development cooperation and trade. Moreover, joining the Global Development Initiative (GDI) opens new horizons for strengthening relations.

● The Minister of International Cooperation invites the business community and investors participating in the summit to learn about investment opportunities in the Suez Canal region, Egyptian ports, and “NWFE” program projects.

● The Hong Kong Summit explores opportunities for cooperation and partnerships with the Middle East region ahead of the Beijing Summit next month with the participation of world leaders.

● The Government of Egypt is keen to advance the partnership with China in light of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), based on its comprehensive vision for development.

Within the framework of the role played by the Ministry of International Cooperation to support and strengthen Egypt’s economic relations with countries around the world, Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, participated in the policy dialogue on “Tapping into the Potential of the Middle East”, within the opening activities of the 8th Belt and Road Summit in Hong Kong from September 13 and 14. This coincides with the 10th  anniversary of the launch of the initiative by Chinese President Xi Jinping, and in preparation for the Belt and Road Summit in Beijing next month with the participation of world leaders. 

The main session of the summit discussed taking advantage of the opportunities available in the Middle East region, moderated by Christopher Hui, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, with the participation ofAbdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates, and Fahd Abdulmohsen Al-Rasheed, Advisor in the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Al-Mashat stressed the importance of holding the Belt and Road Summit in Hong Kong to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the launch of the initiative in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which is an initiative that enhances joint cooperation between China and various countries of the world and supports China’s position as an international commercial and financial center, noting its exceptional development experience. H.E. also highlighted that Egyptian-Chinese relations are going through a historic transformation during the era of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and this was clearly reflected in the mutual visits of the leaders of the two countries and the signing of the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement in 2014, which expands the scope of exceptional relations.

The Minister explained, in her speech, that the comprehensive strategic partnership has strengthened economic relations between the two countries and unlocked great opportunities for cooperation at various levels. This was clearly evident in the acceleration of the pace of Chinese investments over the past decade, in a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, services, construction, agriculture, and technology and information.

Moreover, the Minister referred to the continuous development of Egyptian-Chinese relations and the visit she made to the Chinese capital, Beijing, last July to attend the Global Development Initiative Forum, where a memorandum of understanding was signed on the Global Development Initiative (GDI), with the head of the Chinese International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA), in a way that enhances and supports the strategic partnerships between Egypt and China, especially in light of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative, which establishes a new phase of joint relations between the two sides.

Al-Mashat stressed the importance of the Hong Kong Summit, which works to explore the best ways and solutions to benefit from the BRI and discuss promising prospects for cooperation with the private sector, pointing out that the initiative enhances communication between China and connects it to the world through infrastructure projects and enhancing investments in countries along the Belt and Road, thus enhancing economic relations between China and other countries. 

H.E. continued: The initiative includes infrastructure projects, facilitating trade, enhancing financial integration, cultural exchange and ties between peoples. It also emphasizes the importance of multilateral economic cooperation that supports the alignment of countries’ priorities towards achieving the global development agenda and providing comprehensive solutions for development. In this context, Egypt is keen to strengthen the partnership with China to achieve common interests, given the pivotal role that Egypt plays through the Suez Canal as a link between Asia, Africa and Europe.

H.E. noted that the BRI helps diversify trade routes through investing in new ports, railways, roads and energy pipelines to access new markets and resources more efficiently and securely exchange industrial capacity, innovation and technological knowhow among countries, it identifies with Egypt’s strategic priorities of expanding investments and connectivity particularly through the Suez Canal Economic Zone.  Moreover, The BRI has boosted the economic development and investment opportunities in the SCZone, covering an area of 455 square kilometers, and China has also been one of its major investors, with projects such as the China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone (TEDA), which hosts several Chinese enterprises in textiles, electronics, building materials, and logistics. In the area of ports, the Hutchenson – CMA – COSCO consortium was signed.  Furthermore, it has promoted tourism and education cooperation with Egypt in the SCZone.  

The Minister stressed that these developments and growing economic opportunities between Egypt and China would not have been possible without the commitment of the Government of Egypt to expand the scope of investment in sustainable infrastructure since 2014 to unleash the potential of the Egyptian economy and enhance private sector investments, noting that despite the role played by governments and international institutions, global challenges impose the importance of the private sector’s participation in development and increasing its role as a major partner.

The Minister also noted that stimulating private sector investments can only be achieved by creating an enabling environment for investors and laws stimulating investment, and enhancing effective partnership between the government and private sectors, in a way that stimulates the implementation of projects that meet national priorities and are consistent with the UN SDGs.

In this regard, the Minister talked about the national platform for the “NWFE” program, as an example of national platforms that aim to fulfill climate pledges and move them towards implementation, through projects that attract investments and enhance development efforts and climate action at the same time, noting that the platform benefits from global partnerships and multilateral cooperation efforts to attract private sector investments through innovative financing mechanisms and blended financing.

Al-Mashat also  invited the attendees at the session to participate in the dedicated session that will be held on investment opportunities in the Suez Canal Economic Zone and Egyptian ports, as well as investment opportunities in the projects of the “NWFE” program. She also thanked H.E. John Lee, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, for her invitation to participate in this important event.

The Hong Kong Forum, which is jointly organized by the Hong Kong Administrative Region and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, is scheduled to witness extensive discussions on the promising prospects for economic cooperation between various countries as well as international companies to promote economic recovery and seize development opportunities, with the participation of business leaders and government representatives, decision makers and international and Chinese financing institutions such as the China Development Bank, the Export-Import Bank of China, and HSBC Bank. The event’s results will be presented at the Belt and Road Summit in Beijing next month. 

The Minister of International Cooperation is participating among an Egyptian delegation that includes the Chairman of the General Authority for Investment, Mr. Hossam Heiba, representatives of the General Authority for the Suez Canal Economic Zone, and other national entities. The Minister of International Cooperation visited the Egyptian pavilion participating in the summit activities and met with the CEO of the General Authority for Investment and the Ambassador Baher Sheweikhi, Consulate-General of Egypt in Hong Kong. 

It is worth noting that the Minister visited China last July, first visit since COVID-19, as the visit witnessed Egypt signing a memorandum of understanding on the GDI launched by the Chinese President in 2021, which supports the Egyptian partnership. It includes a clause to establish a consultation mechanism at the departmental level, and work to formulate an integrated strategy for development cooperation between Egypt and China for a period of 3 to 5 years, for the first time, in light of the growing relations between the two countries. Four documents were also signed with the Chinese Agency for International Development Cooperation in the fields of transportation, vocational training, and the preparation of feasibility studies.