13 March 2017

Africa: Estranged Egypt Pursues Africa-Focused Foreign Policy

AFTER decades of estrangement, Egypt is seriously seeking to return to Africa, with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi expressing keenness to maintain closer cooperation with other countries in the continent.

Addressing senior media managers from various African countries at the Presidential Palace here yesterday, President Sisi described serious cooperation with African countries as the cornerstone of his country's Foreign Policy.

"I said it in my inaugural speech, I have said it again and again and I am saying it now that we are returning to our African sisters and brothers to join hands in building our African countries," said the president, citing the establishment of Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development (EAPD) as an effective move towards cemented cooperation with other African nations.

He said the African continent is endowed with vast natural resources, which needed collective efforts to develop and exploit for the benefit of all Africans.

The president, believing that African countries suffer from almost similar problems and face common challenges, pledged his country's support to enable African states to attain common goals of sustainable development.

"The colonial era has passed - we are now in different times. We therefore have to focus on achieving sustainable development through enhanced education, agriculture, health and other social services.

"Egypt is keen to achieve all that," he said, mentioning agriculture, health, education, infrastructure, industries and information technology as some of the critical areas his country was keenly interested to cooperate with other nations in the continent.

Egypt's Foreign Policy had for a long time been firmly turned eastwards due to its closeness, geographically and culturally, to the Middle-East. The country is a transcontinental state, spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula.

It is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba to the east, the Red Sea to the east and south, Sudan to the South and Libya to the west.

President Sisi said for the past two years his country had embraced ambitious programme for economic development, setting the 2030 target for comprehensive development.

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