Egypt is looking to increase its exports to 25 African countries after the signing of a free trade agreement, which will take place on 10 June. The agreement’s signing, set to take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, will occur between the three main African blocs, COMESA, SADC and the East African Community (EAC).
Egypt seeks to promote its exports to African countries, which are the main importers of Egypt’s non-crude oil, petroleum gases, iron and steel industries, engineering products specially televisions, as well as wires and cables.
Trade Minister Plenipotentiary of Egyptian Commercial Services Ali El-Leithi said Egyptian exports to the countries of the three African blocs amounted to $2.7bn during 2013, compared to $3.1bn in 2012.
Egyptian imports from these countries amounted to approximately $810m during 2013, compared to $1bn during 2012. The most important receiving countries for Egyptian exports are Libya, Sudan, Kenya and South Africa, according to El-Leithi.
He pointed out that Egypt’s trade with the most important countries of the 25 countries (notably South Africa, Libya and Angola) does not represent a great amount. The total Egyptian exports to these three countries amounted to $ 1.3bn – nearly 50% of the total Egyptian exports to the 25 countries. This represents a rate of 0.6% of the total imports of these countries, which amounted to $196bn in 2013.
There is a great opportunity to increase the volume of Egyptian exports to these 25 countries of up to $5bn over the next three years, compared with $2.7bn in 2013. This means it will see a doubling in exports by 100%, according to Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour.
This requires concerted efforts amongst stakeholders, whether government or private sector, to take advantage of this opportunity in Egypt’s exports development to Africa. This is particularly to SADC markets, including Angola, Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana. These countries’ imports reached more than $7bn a year, while Egyptian exports to these countries amounted to only $42m, which are concentrated on non-crude oil, petroleum gases, wires, and cables.