CAIRO: Egypt is one of the promising African markets the UK is focusing on following its departure from the EU, according to Emma Wade-Smith, the Queen’s Commissioner for Trade with Africa.
Education, energy, electricity and healthcare are among areas British companies are considering for investment, Wade-Smith said.
She was speaking during a conference held by the British Egyptian Business Association to discuss increased cooperation between Egyptian and British firms on sustainable industrialization projects in Africa following Brexit.
Wade-Smith said that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic had caused a 20 percent decline in trade between Africa and the UK.
The commissioner said that Britain is seeking to strengthen its relations with African nations, and nine independent trade agreements have been signed with Kenya, Tunisia, Egypt, Ghana and other countries.
The Egyptian-British Partnership Agreement was signed last December to establish economic relations between the two countries after the UK’s exit from the EU last January.
Wade-Smith said that Britain is looking forward to increasing cooperation with Egypt, especially after the International Monetary Fund’s prediction that the Egyptian economy will achieve high growth rates due to the government’s reform policies. UK firms will seek to help Egyptian entrepreneurs develop their projects, she said.
Last year, British exports to Egypt totaled £2.3 billion ($3.15 billion), while Egypt’s exports to Britain were estimated at £1.3 billion, according to a report by the British Foreign Office.
Ibrahim Al-Sigini, assistant to the Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry for Economic Affairs, said that the ministry will hold joint meetings with British companies to discuss increased cooperation and new investments in the local market.
Wamkele Mene, secretary-general of the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area, said that Britain is concluding a cooperation agreement with African countries and another agreement with the African Continental Free Trade Area, which will help increase British investments and provide job opportunities for about 100 million people.
The UK ranks first in the world in terms of the volume of contribution to direct foreign investment in the Egyptian market, with investments amounting to $5.4 billion in 1,630 companies, most of which are concentrated in the industrial sector, according to the minister of trade and industry.