The 28th Africa-France Summit faces likely postponement due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, says Hassan Behnam, Managing Director of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Egypt (CCFE).
The event scheduled for 4-6 June in Bordeaux, France, was to take place in the presence of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, accompanied by a high-level business delegation, upon the invitation of his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, Behnam told Daily News Egypt.
“The organisers of the event have not taken a decision yet, knowing the serious virus situation prevailing in France, I doubt it will be convened and I regret it,” Behnam mentioned. He noted that the CCFE had to cancel or postpone 17 events due between March and June.
The Egyptian government has rapidly responded to prevent the virus spreading further which the World Health Organisation and other international organisations have recognised, he said
The Egyptian authorities are sponsoring coronavirus awareness campaigns, he said.
“We should all focus on staying away from the threat of the virus and protect ourselves and others too. Similar to all tensions and crisis around the planet, coronavirus has created a national solidarity,” Behnam added. “We should take profit from it and once the crisis is over, maintain the momentum of this sacred union and apply it to all personal and professional domains.”
Egypt’s tourism sector is one sector that is suffering the most from the present health crisis, he said, adding, “I sincerely hope that the crisis will end soon and allow outstanding opening ceremony of Grand Egyptian Museum due on 10 October to take place.”
The annual number of French tourists in Egypt pre-2011 was 480,000, a figure which practically doubled by the end of 2018, reaching around 800,000 visitors, he said.
Behnam added, “Similar to trade relations between Egypt and France, tourism will no doubt resume as soon as things get back to normal.”