CAIRO: Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat met Japanese Ambassador to Egypt Oka Hiroshi to discuss the development of joint relations and future cooperation opportunities between the two countries.
Hideki Matsunaga, director general of the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s Middle East and Europe department; Kenichiro Kitamura, principal representative of the Dubai office of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation; and Toyokazu Fukuyama, executive director of the Cairo office of the Japan External Trade Organization, also participated in the talks.
Al-Mashat highlighted the importance of high-level policy dialogue between the Egyptian and Japanese sides, an important aim for the Ministry of International Cooperation that is to be followed by all multilateral and bilateral development partners.
She stressed the importance of the participation of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the Japan External Trade Organization in the policy dialogue, as the volume of trade exchange and investment between the two countries is a good indicator of strong relations.
“We look forward to further rapprochement and joint action to overcome all challenges,” she said.
Al-Mashat noted the importance of coordinating with the private sector in the two countries to increase its role in Egyptian-Japanese joint relations and to enhance its participation in development efforts.
She pointed to the convening of the second Egypt-International Cooperation Forum next September, which will see the gathering of African ministers of environment and finance to discuss common visions.
Hiroshi said that Japan would continue to support sustainable development in Egypt according to its development needs through three priority areas: Supporting sustainable economic growth; assisting social inclusion; and the promotion of education, human resource development and regional cooperation.
Hiroshi said that Japanese cooperation with the Egyptian government included: Developing the quality of infrastructure; cooperation between the public and private sectors to generate clean energy; cooperation in the health sector; cooperation in food and agriculture; and cooperation in education and human resource development.
“We have great opportunities to enhance cooperation with the Egyptian government in the renewable energy sector and to promote inclusive growth and localization of the industry,” he said.
Japan Bank for International Cooperation officials gave a presentation on joint work and the organization’s efforts in Egypt. It included a presentation of the bank’s work plan in Egypt for the medium term, for the period 2021–2023, which aims to support Egyptian efforts to enhance infrastructure efficiency, advance sustainable development goals and localize industry.
Fukuyama, executive director of the Japan External Trade Organization’s Cairo office, said that in addition to Japan’s official development assistance, Japanese private companies’ participation in products and technology and direct investment in projects had contributed to Egypt’s economic growth and social development. He emphasized the trade organization’s role in attracting Japanese companies’ interest in Egypt, especially in strategic industries, through its role as a Japanese agency for promoting trade and investment.
During her meeting with the delegation of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, Al-Mashat discussed important files within the framework of the cooperation between the government and the agency, and followed up on projects in light of the joint development efforts between the two countries.
Matsunaga, director of the agency's Middle East and Europe section, praised development efforts and what had been achieved in Egypt over the past years, especially in infrastructure, and the ability of the Egyptian state to complete these projects despite the current exceptional world circumstances.
Egypt had shown strong resilience in the face of these crises and has been able to achieve positive growth despite the impact of most of the countries in the region and the world by successive crises.
“Currently, Japan and Egypt are discussing future projects in the fields of electricity, technical support for the Suez Canal, comprehensive health insurance, and the Greater Cairo Metro, in addition to promoting the circular economy through single-use plastics,” according to the Egyptian Ministry of International Cooperation.
Cooperation between Egypt and Japan began in 1954, and the development cooperation portfolio is diversified in many sectors. The current portfolio of economic cooperation between the two countries amounts to about $2.8 billion to implement 14 projects, including in health, electricity, transport, navigation, education and irrigation.