Egypt set to increase its exports to Africa

A shopping mall in Lusaka, Zambia (Photo by Shutterstock).
Egypt plans to increase its exports to Africa and targets USD10 billion by 2025, writes Ahmad Abdul-Rahman.

Egypt plans to to enhance trade with Africa, especially the countries of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). The plan, which will be implemented by Egypt's Ministry of Industry and Trade, in cooperation with all ministries and relevant authorities, monitors exports on an ongoing basis.

The plan is a detailed analysis of the current state of exports to Africa and the competition it faces. It includes how to provide land and sea transportation and how to activate trade agreements as well as providing technical and financial support for importing countries. The challenges and opportunities available to increase exports to Africa were also identified, as well as identifying the target markets and commodities.

The Minister of Industry and Trade, Nevin Gameh, announced that the plan would start in 2022 and extend until 2025. "Among the features of the plan is the provision of all aspects of support for exporters to African markets. The real implementation of this plan [is that] we see the new export support, as the government bears 80% of the freight value of Egyptian goods in Africa, compared to 50% in the 2021 previous plan," Gameh noted.

She added: "There are special support programs to open new markets, so that support increases with the increase in the proportion of the local component, as well as special incentives for some sectors. This is in addition to introducing new sectors within the export support program, including medicines, as well as focusing on sectors in which Egypt has a competitive advantage. The Minister of Industry and Trade said that some African countries are looking forward to Egyptian products, especially in an area such as engineering. Certain products have been introduced in this sector for the African market. The minister stressed that there is an acceptance of Egyptian products in Africa because of their friendly relationship.

She said that increasing Egyptian exports is a a top priority, because exports will provide the country with hard currency. This will be reflected in the value of the Egyptian dollar, as well as in the country's trade balance - the difference between exports and imports. 

Opportunities to increase exports

The government is also working on the best way to optimise its trade agreements with Africa, to facilitate the free access of Egyptian products to those markets, including the COMESA agreement.

The Egyptian vision is based on three main factors. The first is to train exporters using the best means available, and to exploit the capabilities of government agencies working on exports. The second is based on defining the needs of each export market, and avoiding costly mistakes. The third is to ensure coordination between commercial representation offices abroad, export development agencies in Egypt and the private sector.

A group of investors intends to launch the first Egyptian commercial centre on the African continent with investments amounting to about EGP 500 million, under the name Alaadin.The consortuim is scheduled to establish 22 branches of the Egyptian commercial centres in six African countries by the end of 2025. The first one will open in Zambia by next April, followed by five branches this year, including four in Zambia, and one branch in Congo.

The plan will also introduce new companies to the export sector by providing new courses for medium and small companies. 

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Sunday, 25 September 2022