China Links Belt & Road Initiative Expenditure To Egypt’s 2030 Vision Development Plan
China, which pledged investments of US$400 billion over the next ten years to Muslim nations at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in March, has stated it will ‘align’ its BRI expenditure with Egypt’s Vision 2030 development scheme.
Wang Di, China’s Director-General of the Department of West Asian and North African Affairs at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs — stated that China is ready to work with Egypt to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state and consolidate mutual trust at the political level. Wang stated that “Sino-Egyptian relations have become a model of solidarity, cooperation, and mutual benefit under the leadership of the two heads of state” an interesting perspective given that Chinese Premier Xi Jinping is hoping to be promoted to the position of ‘Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party’, at the 25th CPC National People’s Congress in October, a title that has not been used since 1982. This was the highest position held by Mao Zedong and remains revered.
Concerning Egypt, Wang said that efforts will be made to harmonise China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Egypt’s 2030 Vision, expand practical cooperation, and intensify communication and coordination in international and regional affairs. This is in addition to working together to defend the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries and push for the democratisation of international relations.
That last comment is also interesting – with China seeking to take responsibility of the ‘democratisation of international relations’ an apparent reference to Beijing’s belief that global institutions have been eroded by the United States, and in the words of Russian President Putin last week, ‘A new global order needs to be built.’ The implication from both Beijing and Moscow appears to be that the current global democratic structures no longer work – and that they will rebuild them.
Wang also stressed that China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and the largest developing country in the world, just as Egypt is a large Arab and African country and an important emerging economy, and that under the current circumstances, the comprehensive nature of Chinese-Egyptian relations is important.
China has been Egypt’s largest trading partner for eight consecutive years, as the volume of trade exchange between the two countries reached US$20 billion 2021 — an increase of 37% compared to 2020.
Wang added that joint projects between the two countries are progressing smoothly, such as establishing the Central Business District in the New Administrative Capital, the Electric Train Project at the new 10th of Ramadan City, and the China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, which has provided more than 40,000 job opportunities for citizens.
This is in addition to the first joint production line in Africa for a vaccine against the emerging coronavirus, which was completed in cooperation with China.
Egypt is a member of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement which commenced from January 1st 2021 and which has largely abolished intra-African trade tariffs. This means it is now possible to source products from across Africa, process them and mix them with duty free imported products from elsewhere, and then either resell the completed item back onto the African domestic market or reexport them.
That requires an Export Processing Zone with Bonded warehousing facilities. China and Egypt have established the China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone near the Suez Canal. Bilateral trade between China and Egypt is currently running at about US$2 billion per month. The main products that China exports to Egypt are Broadcasting Equipment, Non-Retail Synthetic Filament Yarn, and LCDs, while Egyptian exports focus on Crude Petroleum, Refined Petroleum, and Citrus and other foodstuffs.
Egypt has also joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as a dialogue partner, as well as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Chris Devonshire-Ellis is the Chairman of Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists British and Foreign Investment into Asia and has 28 offices throughout China, India, the ASEAN nations and Russia. For strategic and business intelligence concerning China’s Belt & Road Initiative please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.dezshira.com