“The Egyptian and Japanese priorities are now converging. Egypt would like to benefit of its chair of the African Union to promote business relations with other regions, and Japan is interested in encouraging not only the official development assistance, but also trade and investment relations,” Japanese ambassador to Egypt Masaki Noke told Daily News Egypt.
“So we have a common interest in developing economic and investment relations between Japan and Africa in general and Egypt in particular,” the ambassador added.
In terms of the trade exchange between Egypt and Japan, Noke stated that the direct trade volume is not high, as it roughly reached $1bn, but Japan has plenty of indirect trade because Japanese companies have productions in other countries such as turkey, Morocco, and southeast Asia.
So trade between Japan and Egypt is not only direct but there is also a lot of indirect trade from Japanese companies, therefore the actual volume is much larger than what it seems.
“I believe that Egypt has great potential, with a 100 million young and dynamic populations so the domestic market is growing, thus Japanese companies expect better future,” Noke said.
“Meanwhile, Japanese companies have to think about how to cope with the Egyptian market, as it is really interesting and valuable to produce here in Egypt or produce somewhere else and export to Egypt if they have production, and investors will also think Egypt is an advantageous exporting centre,” he said.
“There are also other candidates like Morocco, Turkey, so the potential is there, but we would hope that there would be a very clear interest and incentives offered to new investors,” the ambassador said.
Talking about the Japanese investments in Egypt, Noke revealed that there are roughly 50 Japanese companies operating in Egypt, noting that Japanese total investments reached $170m in 2017.
He noted to that in March, a Japanese business delegation consisting of 40 Japanese companies visited Egypt and discussed furthering joint investment and trade relations with Egypt. They also had a very good meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.
“March witnessed a very important and useful seminar between Egyptians and Japanese companies,” he asserted.
The ambassador mentioned that the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), which will be held on 28 August, will be a great occasion for Egyptian companies to come to Japan in light of Japan’s keenness to enhance economic ties with Africa.
Furthermore, he disclosed that at this conference there will also be a very large business forum between Japanese and African companies.
“The conference would be a great chance to promote Egyptian potential and to network,” he stated.
If Egyptian companies came to Japan they can take advantage of Japanese companies which have not dealt with Egypt up until now. Perhaps they are not interested in Egypt but are more interested in Africa, so the presence of Egyptian firms in the TICAD summit will make a difference and further promote Egyptian investment opportunities, elaborated the ambassador.