Egypt and COMESA

Since it joined COMESA on June 29, 1998, Egypt has been an active player at the organisation’s meetings, whether held at HQ in Lusaka or hosted by member states. Egypt has also been especially dynamic in the areas of economic, trade, investment and tariff cooperation.

Egypt has offered several scholarships to trainees from COMESA countries in the fields of road construction; communications and transport; infrastructure; and government procurements.

Egypt has also hosted numerous seminars where officials, entrepreneurs, bankers and diplomats brainstormed to invigorate COMESA and promote cooperation among its member states.

Egyptian exports to COMESA countries Aluminium products; pharmaceuticals; petroleum products; carpets; ceramics; foodstuff; furniture; fertilizers; insecticides; cement and reinforced iron; rice; fabrics

Egyptian imports from COMESA countries Tea and coffee; cocoa; legumes; sesame; raw leather; tanning substances; plant essences; livestock

Benefits

By joining COMESA, Egypt has availed itself of enormous economic opportunities. Africa is a huge market where Egyptian products could be promoted. It also has a great potential for agricultural expansion.

Industry: COMESA membership provides Egyptian products with the opportunity of accessing African markets tariff-free. Under the COMESA charter, an Egyptian could establish a business either individually or jointly with a counterpart from other member states; the business would benefit from all exemptions offered therein.

A number of Egyptian companies have already set shop in several COMESA countries. This gives Egyptian products a competitive edge in African markets.

Agriculture:

A number of COMESA members have solicited Egypt’s assistance to set up model farms, with areas ranging from 2000 feddans (2076 ha) to 20,000 feddans (20,760 ha), fully provided with the infrastructure and the water sources required. These farms would absorb great numbers of Egyptian labour and could well be a cheap source of food imports.

Contracting:

Egyptian contracting companies have a vast experience in regard to African markets. They have helped develop the infrastructure of most COMESA member states. In addition, Egypt is also involved in power-grid projects throughout the continent.

Technical support:

The Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa plays an important role, providing Egypt’s expertise in development projects and training Africans to man them. Regional Investment Agency (RIA)

On April 4, 2009, the People’s Assembly ratified an agreement between Egypt and COMESA whereby the Regional Investment Agency (RIA) was established.

The RIA charter was approved at the 10th COMESA Summit (2005) and the headquarters were opened in June 2006.

The RIA provides a window for Egypt to attract foreign investments and makes it a business centre to benefit Eastern and Southern Africa.

Under Egyptian law, the RIA is a body corporate, contract- and litigation-eligible, with the capability of possessing and dealing with assets both fixed and moveable.

The sanctity of the headquarters is guaranteed, and the place is under COMESA Secretary-General’s control. The headquarters should not be used in acts that would jeopardize the host-country’s security and stability. The RIA shall be exempted from all taxes and tariffs including sales and import taxes.

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