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  • Friday, 29 March 2024

Within the framework of the Egyptian-European strategic partnership and the strategic relations between the two sides, there is a new beginning for joint Egyptian-Italian relations

● Opening the new offices of the Italian Embassy and specialized Italian agencies and signing 10 agreements in various fields of development

● Various agreements in the field of small and medium enterprises, infrastructure development, technical education, vocational training, and industrial zone development

● Minister of International Cooperation: The opening of Italian offices in Cairo opens new horizons for relations with the private sector in Egypt

Within the framework of the Egyptian-European partnership, the signing of the joint declaration to upgrade relations between the two sides, and the visit of the Italian Prime Minister to Egypt as part of a high-level European delegation, Egyptian-Italian relations have unlocked new opportunities. A number of joint agreements were signed between the two sides, and the new offices of the Italian Embassy in Cairo were opened. It includes offices of the Italian Trade Agency, the Italian Development Bank, the Italian Loan and Deposit Fund, the Servizi Assicurativi del Commercio Estero (SACE -  Italian Export Credit Agency) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Support and Financing Authority, within the framework of the strategic  relations between the Egyptian and Italian sides and joint efforts to empower the private sector.

Government Agreements

The Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, on behalf of the Egyptian government, signed two cooperation documents with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The first is a grant agreement worth €3 million for “Technical Assistance Programs for Furniture, Leather, and Marble Industrial Zones”. This is to contribute to strengthening the Egyptian industrial system by improving the production capacity of industrial areas for leather, furniture, and marble, in a way that supports the industrial and economic development of the country by focusing on technology, innovation, knowledge transfer, and sustainability from an environmental point of view.

Moreover, a second agreement was signed for “Promoting Rights for People With Special Needs and Their Integration Within Society” as a grant worth €1.8 million to enhance the human rights of persons with disabilities by strengthening the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, enhancing dynamics between institutions and taking concrete measures to enhance integrating them into society. The program concretely seeks to develop strategic action plans and implement policies, programs and actions on the ground, with an approach that focuses on the rights of persons with disabilities.

The agreement also aims to improve the ability of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities to enhance the processes of integrating people with disabilities into society, increase the participation of all parties concerned with the project, and activate local technical assistance to prepare the National Strategy for Disability Affairs.

Empowering the Private Sector and Enhancing Joint Relations

On the sidelines of the opening of the new offices of the Italian embassy and specialized agencies, 8 joint agreements were signed, including a financial agreement between the Central Bank of Egypt and the Italian Loans and Deposits Fund, for the project “Supporting the Egyptian Private Sector” financed with €45 million for the benefit of the MSMEDA.

An agreement was also signed between the Italian Loan and Deposit Fund and the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim Bank), worth €100 million, to support projects that contribute to achieving sustainable development in the field of food security for African MSMEs, in addition to a memorandum of understanding between the Italian SACE Group and Orascom for Construction, to support Italian companies working in infrastructure development projects in Egypt.

A memorandum of understanding was also signed between the Italian SACE Group and the Bank of Alexandria to provide financial support for bilateral trade between Egyptian-Italian MSMEs, as well as a memorandum of understanding between the General Confederation of Italian Industry and the Federation of Egyptian Industries in the field of technical education and vocational training, as well as an agreement between the Italian Mermec Group and the National Railways Authority of Egypt to supply a self-propelled train.

A memorandum of understanding was also signed between the Arsenale S.P.A. group and the Egyptian Railways Authority with the aim of supporting the project to establish a tourist train in Egypt, and a memorandum of understanding between the Scuola Italiana di Ospitalità and the Egyptian Pickalbatros group for cooperation in the field of hospitality and tourism in the two countries by providing specialized training professional programs.

H.E. Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, confirmed that Egyptian-Italian relations are witnessing continuous development coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Egyptian-European Partnership Agreement, and the signing of the joint declaration to raise the level of relations, pointing out that the opening of Italian offices in Cairo and the presence of specialized agencies that open the horizons of cooperation with the Egyptian private sector; consistent with the efforts undertaken by the state to develop and enable the private sector to play its role in leading development efforts.

It is worth noting that bilateral relations between Egypt and Italy began in 1975, and the bilateral cooperation portfolio amounts to about  €82 million, in several development sectors, including supporting small and medium enterprises, stimulating the private sector, and promoting growth in the agricultural, health, and environmental sectors. In addition, the Egyptian - Italian Debt swap is one of the main pillars of cooperation between the two sides, within the framework of which 3 phases were implemented, worth $350 million.