A significant part of Egypt’s move towards the East to check Western influence is China. President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi gave a speech before the Egyptian-Chinese Business Council in China late December, inviting Chinese investors and companies to actively participate in the Economic Summit.
“This population is now inviting you to form a serious partnership and have constructive cooperation to achieve development,” the president said.
China was the first country outside the Arab region that Al-Sisi visited after his inauguration, with the Chinese premiere set to visit Egypt in April, Kandil said.
China’s policy towards Egypt has been clear and fixed for four years. It stood by both the 25 January and 30 June Revolutions, Kandil said.
“There is concordance between both the Egyptian and Chinese governments,” he added.
China has consistently expressed the desire to raise the level of relations with Egypt to their highest, with Egypt open to improvements in relations.
The Ministry of International Cooperation had previously said that representatives from Chinese companies have expressed interest in infrastructure sector projects during the visit of several Egyptian ministers to China.
Before the president’s visit to China, a Chinese presidential envoy to Egypt had announced his country’s intention to establish a “comprehensive strategic partnership” with Egypt.
During the meetings, Al-Sisi stressed that Egypt is serious in its desire to strengthen relations with China. He highlighted that Egypt can learn from China’s economic experience, but added that the partnership should see cooperation in multiple areas, including counterterrorism.
Al-Sisi expressed his desire for increased Chinese investment, referring specifically to the development of the Suez Canal zone.
The Egyptian government had also announced in September the formation of a new cabinet committee to be entrusted with increasing Chinese investments in Egypt. The committee would also follow up on China’s participation in the country’s new development projects as part of its remit.
Egypt and China have an active economic relationship, with both countries’ governments signing an economic and technical agreement in March. The agreement will allow access to a $24.4m non-refundable grant to fund development projects in Egypt.
For three years starting in 2013, China agreed to give Egypt CNY 150m ($24.4m) to support social and economic projects, according to the statement.
Following the January 25 Revolution, China granted Egypt $48.9m to support the state’s security system, finance projects in education and agriculture, and train railway workers and those in small- and medium-sized enterprises.
The total value of Chinese development aid programmes in Egypt amounts to $120.3m in non-refundable grants and $304.5m in concessional loans. These programmes have helped in financing development projects in the Gulf of Suez, Suez University, 6th of October City and Menufiya.
Kandil highlighted that China comes on top of the list of countries Egypt has cooperation with in all fields, including transportation, energy and finance. China possesses high technological and industrial capabilities which Egypt desperately needs.