Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry headed to South Africa on Friday to meet the Chinese prime minister and attend the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC) from 2 to 5 December.
The forum is held in Johannesburg, and the two met with the Nigerian president, and Sudanese first vice president on Saturday.
Ismail gave a speech during the forum in the presence of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, African leaders and top Chinese officials.
At the beginning of the speech, Ismail said: “We are celebrating the forum’s 15th anniversary since its launching, which represents the historic friendship between the two sides. Not only this, we are also celebrating the 60th anniversary of Egyptian-Chinese diplomatic ties, as Egypt was the first African nation to recognise the Chinese republic in May 1956.”
Ismail expressed his pleasure at participating in the first summit for the forum, taking place in South Africa. He praised the forum’s efforts over the past six years, noting that two-way trade increased from $10m in 2000 to $220bn in 2014, and Chinese investment in the African countries increased from $500m in 2000 to $30bn in 2014. He noted that this increased job opportunities in China and African countries.
The speech focused on the importance of Sino-African cooperation and the necessity of China’s participation in the African continent development projects, in addition to Egypt’s efforts to offer a suitable atmosphere for launching investments in the country.
The Egyptian prime minister discussed China’s efforts to support economic and social development in Africa through the aligning aids with the priorities and needs of African countries.
Further, Ismail illustrated Egypt’s vision to encourage coordination between China and Africa, and to represent Africa’s interests in the UN Security Council.
Regarding terrorism in Africa, Ismail highlighted Egypt’s efforts to confront terrorism and pledged that Egypt will confront all the challenges facing Africa through its membership in the UN Security Council, scheduled to begin in 2016.
Following the speech, Ismail and Shoukry met with the Nigerian president and the Sudanese Deputy Vice President and discussed bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries in various fields.
Following the Egyptian officials’ arrival, they met Friday evening with the Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and discussed Egyptian-Chinese bilateral relations.
During the meeting, Ismail praised the historical ties between Egypt and China.
Moreover he highlighted Egypt’s effort to support China in obtaining membership in the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council.
Regarding Egypt’s ongoing development efforts, Ismail announced plans to launch new projects in various fields, following the completion the Suez Canal Axis Development project.
Also in the meeting, he announced the Chinese president’s intention to visit Egypt in early 2016, praising President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s efforts to confront terrorism and to stabilise Egypt.
He confirmed the importance of developing relations between Egypt and China, highlighting that both countries are working on 15 projects together on a budget of approximately $10m in various fields, including railway stations and electricity.