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Egypt on democratic track

Thursday, 30 October 2014 - 6:33 PM Cairo
Home >> Politics >> Foreign Policy >> Egypt and Europe >> Egypt and Britain

Egypt and Britain

Introduction

Britain occupied Egypt in 1882 until 1952. Since the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, the relation between both countries was in a tug of war ended with the tripartite aggression against Egypt in 1956, however the relations improved after the War of 1973.

Political relations

There is a strong political relation between Egypt and Britain because Britain regards Egypt as one of the important and strong pillar that supports the peace process and stability in the Middle East, which has a vital importance in supporting Britain's interests.

Britain's support of the 2011 Revolution showed in the strongly-worded of Prime Minister David Cameron warning that should acts of violence against the protestors continued, the Mubarak regime would lose its credibility.

Cameron called for a move to civilian rule as part of a transition to an "open, democratic and free Egypt."

He urged EU leaders to support an orderly transition of power in Egypt.

Mutual visits

Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy met on 15/5/2014 with British Minister of State for Middle East and North Africa Hugh Robertson along with representatives of major British companies operating in Egypt. The meeting took up boosting relations as well as the current economic situation in Egypt. Fahmy discussed the domestic political situation and the progress in the transitional road map. Fahmy also held talks with British Foreign Secretary William Huge. The talks tackled several regional and international issues of common interest. Fahmy also met British Minister for International Development Alan Duncan to discuss the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. Fahmy met during his current visit to Britain with members of the House of Lords and House of Commons who constitute the group of "Friends of Egypt" in the British Parliament. He highlighted during the meeting the importance of the role undertaken by the group for enhancing Egyptian-British relations.

- President Mohammad Morsi received on Tuesday 11/09/2012 British Foreign Secretary William Hague. Discussions focused on bilateral ties, Syria, the Palestinian question and developments in the Middle East.

- British Prime Minister David Cameron became the first foreign leader to visit Egypt since the downfall of Hosni Mubarak which electrified the Middle East and forced the West to rethink its policies in the region.

He was received on 21th of Feb. 2011 by the Chair of the Council of the Armed Forces Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi and former Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq.

Cameron visited Tahrir Square and met with the representatives of the various democratic movements.

Culture and tourism

Egypt is closely linked with the Anglo-Saxon culture, as English is the first language in the Egyptian schools and universities.
Egypt sends scientific missions to British universities for their postgraduate studies in various scientific and cultural fields. The British Council played a major role in spreading English culture in Egypt in addition to its role in learning the English language. There is an exchange of technical delegations between Egypt and Britain, including the visit of the Royal Theater troupe to Egypt on 13/12/1990 and their classical presentations at the Opera House in Egypt.

• On February 24, 1992, a cooperation agreement was signed with Britain in the cultural, environmental, and educational fields, including an increase in the scholarships, research and training to update the technology in Egypt so as Britain to host art and culture activities.

• In 1992, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has allocated an amount of £ 1.2 million to send 100 Egyptian students to the United Kingdom scholarships.

• On 19/11/1992, 175 British businessmen visited Egypt to watch the rich touristic landmarks of Luxor and Aswan. They have paid tribute to the good treatment (great hospitality) during their visit to the archaeological areas in Egypt.

• On the same date 19/11/1992, "Howard Carter" exhibition - the discoverer of the tomb of Tutankhamen- was opened.

• The British University in Egypt contributed to deepening and strengthening relations between the two countries.

Scientific relations

In 1981, Britain and Egypt signed a memorandum of understanding on nuclear cooperation between the two countries in peaceful uses, which included securing the use of nuclear power in the field of nuclear energy and nuclear installations to be used generally in peaceful fields as well as increased cooperation between the two countries in the fields of renewable energy such as solar energy and air (it is known that Egypt and Britain signed a Convention in 1984 for technical cooperation between them in the fields of electricity and non-conventional energy, including the training of Egyptian professionals in the nuclear field, especially in the operation and maintenance of power plants with nuclear power, as well as in researches.

Economic relations

Britain's share of investments in Egypt amounts to £ 20 million to supply 11 new projects in the free zone with a capital of 25 million. Britain also supplies Egypt with £ 500 million to assist in the renewal and extending waterways networks. These improvements began with studies carried out by a group of American and British investment. Britain also funded Nubariya project for food security and development in Egypt (desert land reclamation project in West Nubariya), which requires L.E 160 million of food production, and the Abozaabl for fertilizer project, which is one of the largest projects set up by Britain in the program of cooperation with Egypt.

Egypt is a vital focal point in Britain's economic and trade projects in the Middle East, as it is one of the ten most important markets for Britain in the world.

Investments

The total volume of British investments in Egypt in 2003 was $ 18 billion in various sectors.

The year 2009 was a turning point in our bilateral trade relations; where the total volume of trade surpassed £1.6 billion sterling, and in spite of the global economic downturn, we remain confident that we can exceed that level by the end of the year 2010.

The UK remains the largest investor in Egypt, with direct investments of the top 20 UK companies operating in Egypt exceeding US $20 billion, in areas of services, financial services, energy, construction, tourism, pharmaceuticals, textiles and IT & communications. The number of companies, with British capital participation, working in Egypt exceeds 1000 companies, from household names such as BP, BG, Shell, Vodafone, GlaxoSmithKline and HSBC to smaller, high tech start-up companies.

There are other sectors offering particular opportunities for UK businesses and partnerships in Egypt,a fact confirmed by Sir Andrew Cahn, UKTI Chief Executive after his visit to Egypt, in 2009 namely: ICT, education, ports, aerospace and advanced engineering, agro-technology and renewable energy.

Tourism

Another new record was achieved in 2009 in tourism, in spite of the downturn in global tourism. British tourists, who visited Egypt, in 2009, exceeded the 1.35 million mark for the first time ever, an increase of 12 per cent compared with 2008, which in itself was a record then.

Information Technology

Egypt has always valued its strong friendship with the United Kingdom, our relations today are better than ever in all fields. We maintain an ever-growing collaboration and technical cooperation in a wide range of areas, including investment promotion, financial services, consumer protection and competition, education, health and ICT sector.

Several agreements were signed between the Egyptian and British companies in the field of information technology, granting important contracts to the Egyptian companies to export their services to the African, European and Gulf markets.

Egyptian Barcotik Company and English Bblluotk Company have signed an agreement to use services of the Egyptian Company for the Arabization (localization) of the software and applications in the field of education for schools, equivalent to L.E 24 million.

An agreement was jointly signed by Volvo Group Global and five English companies with United Egyptian experts Company to build a consortium between the companies led by Volvo, which allows for the use of services and capabilities of the Egyptian Company as a partner for the Arabization (localization) of the software.

Egyptian-British Business Council

The Egyptian British Business Council (EBBC) was set up under the auspices of the Egyptian and British Governments in 1998 as a top level strategic body to facilitate trade links between Egypt and the UK, identify barriers to trade and explore ways of tackling them.

Members, numbering up to fifteen a side, have included British investors in Egypt and leading members of the Egyptian private sector, working closely with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Main Egyptian exports to UK:

Petroleum and gas
Textiles and ready-made garments
Fruits and vegetables
Tools and machines
Electric appliances
Chemical products

Main Egyptian imports from UK:

Industrial and production equipment
Medical products and pharmaceuticals
Electric appliances
Vehicles

 

Date of publication:Wednesday, 12 September 2012