How Egypt plans to increase its exports to Africa

The port of Alexandria. It is considered to be the second most important city and the main port in Egypt, handling over three quarters of Egypt’s foreign trade. (Photo by Shutterstock)

The Egyptian government wants to increase the country's exports to Africa, writes Ahmad Abdul-Rahman.

Egypt is aiming to increase its exports to the African continent so that it reaches USD10 billion by 2025. It is doing so because the continent has special geographic importance to Egypt.

The most prominent features of the plan are reviewed in this article.

The plan outlines the challenges and opportunities for increasing exports to Africa, while the target markets and commodities to focus on have been more clearly identified, according to the Egyptian Vision 2030 in which it outlines its vision for Africa. This plan was prepared by the Ministry of Trade and several government agencies in June 2021.

It aims to enhance trade exchange with other African countries, especially the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). It will be implemented by Egypt's Ministry of Industry and Trade, in cooperation with all ministries and relevant authorities, and aims to monitor the export movement on an ongoing basis. The effectiveness of the programme will also be measured in its ability to support exports. 

Minister of Industry and Trade, Nevin Jameh, has announced in previous statements, that the plan to increase exports to Africa will continue until 2025. The plan will be implemented in three phases, starting in January 2022 and ending in December 2025.

The most prominent features of this plan include a detailed analysis of current exports to Africa and the nature of the competitive environment of African markets - that is, the goods in which Egypt has a competitive advantage. This includes medicines and engineering, for example.

The plan also outlines the action that should be taken to ensure the best means of transportation, whether by land or sea, and to implement trade agreements. These agreements aim to bring Egypt closer to African countries and to facilitate the access of Egyptian products to those markets. All trade barriers will be removed,

The export development plan will also be linked to coordinating work between commercial representation offices abroad, export development agencies in Egypt and the private sector.

Jameh has also said that there are special export support programmes for new markets, with the level of support increasing in line with the increase in the proportion of the Egyptian component.

She explained that increasing exports to Africa is a priority for the Egyptian government because it provides the country with much-needed hard currency.

This plan provides support for exporters to African markets. The government will bear 80 per cent of the cost of freight for Egyptian goods to Africa, compared to 50 per cent in the previous plan that ended in 2019.

Technical and financial support is also given to countries importing Egyptian goods and services.

Highlighting the importance of the private sector, a group of Egyptian investors intend to launch the first Egyptian retail chain in Africa with investments amounting to about EGP 500 million (USD 31.8 million), under the name Aladdin. It is scheduled to establish 22 branches  in six African countries by the end of 2025.

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Friday, 29 September 2023