President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi will be in China this week for the run-up to the G20 conference in which Egypt was invited as a guest of honour by Chinese president Xi Jinping during his visit here in January.
Egypt will also participate in the follow-up conference, the second Investing in Africa Forum held two days after the G20 conference ends. This is the second visit by Al-Sisi as Egypt has been attempting to position itself as China’s main partner in Africa.
China Central Television (CCTV) stated yesterday that 86 Chinese companies have investments totalling more than $1.1bn in the Suez Canal zone. This move comes as China increasingly seeks to develop land and maritime transport routes from China to Europe and to outsource manufacturing jobs to cheap labour destinations.
Li Daixin, executive director of Egypt TEDA Investment, an investor in the Suez Canal zone, said: “There are obstacles to operating in many African countries but, for us, Egypt is a priority investment destination. As this is a special economic zone, the quality of the management and facilities is very good and the levels are improving continuously. With the Chinese government launching the new China silk road and rail project, we are encouraging many companies to invest outside China and to grow and develop here.”
China’s Belt and Road initiative—a strategy to build more infrastructure in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa via the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank—is touted as China’s “Marshall Plan”, the US economic plan which lead to the post-war reconstruction of Europe and the rollback of communism by facilitating economic development.
In an interview with Xinhua, head of the Egyptian Chinese Chamber of Commerce Diaa Helmi said: “China is drawing the world’s economic map at a very critical time, as the world is suffering economically from terrorism, war, and civil conflict.”
She argued that this year’s summit is meant to free the world from “old, stagnant economic policies”, including domination and political-based favouritism, to reflect on the success of China as an economic model to follow.
China’s two main banks, the China Development Bank and the Export Import Bank of China, have doubled the amount of overseas financing to developing countries since 2007 to about $684bn—versus the $700bn from the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the Asian Development Bank combined.
Western banks have failed many emerging economies due to the lack of funds provided, and the lack of a voice for developing nations in intuitions like the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank, and International Monetary Fund.
The US would not budge on its super majority in voting decisions and stopped short of providing any new capital for the Millennial Development Goals or the Sustainable Development Goals.
International financial intuitions have thus become more concerned with maintaining an AAA credit rating than doing their actual job.
The G20 summit has become a way of asserting Chinese leadership and chastising developed nations—such as the US, the UK, Japan, and EU nations—on their failures in global governance and economic management, which has seen suppressed growth in many nations around the world since the 2008 financial crisis.