CAIRO – 8 May 2018: The two Nile neighbors, Egypt and Uganda, have strong historical bonds;since President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi took power in 2014, Egyptian-Ugandan relations have witnessed a remarkable development,in light of Egypt’s interest to promote its relations with other African countries, especially the Nile Basin countries, to achieve common interests.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s visit to Egypt comes within the framework of the continuous cooperation between the two countries in different fields.
During Museveni’s meeting with Sisi, a number of agreements will besigned to promote the bilateral cooperation in the fields of agriculture, industry, electricity and renewable energy, according to Ambassador Bassam Radi, presidency spokesman.
TV Screenshot of Sisi reception of Ugandan President in Cairo
Ugandan-Egyptian political relations
Uganda and Egyptenjoy strong, friendly relations because of the common vision the two states share towards several international and regional issues, including water, terrorism and regional crises.
Egypt has provided Uganda with training programs in combating terrorism at the Egyptian military faculties to promote security and defense cooperation between the two countriesas well as other training programs in water management, health, agriculture and media.
In May 2014, Egypt trained10 Ugandan technicians on designing, building and maintaining rainwater harvesting dams, as part of a $2-million grant offered by Egypt to implement a number of rainwater harvesting dams in Uganda.
Regarding the Nile file, Uganda held in June 2017 a summit of the Nile Basin countries, which had taken place after Museveni's mediation efforts to facilitate the dialogue on the fair usage and management of the water resources of the Nile River.
In this regard, Uganda's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kahamba Kutesa affirmed on Monday, May 7, that Egypt has the right to receive and enjoy its full share of Nile water without being threatened in any way.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry met with his Ugandan counterpart Sam Kahamba Kutesa-Press Photo
He said that further talks and discussions are expected to take place between the two countries, especially regarding water, communications and technology.
In light of the reformist vision adopted by Ugandan President Museveni to develop his country, Egypt is interested in fostering the bilateral cooperation with Uganda in different fields such as economy and trade, increasing the trade exchange between the two countries and establishing more common projects in Uganda.
Egypt runs, in partnership with Uganda,a mega project called the Uganda-Egypt Aquatic Weed Control, launched in 1998, with an estimated investment of $20million, to eliminate water weeds from Ugandan lakes; in addition to other projects which aim to improve the lives of fishermen in different areas.
In 2010, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the two countries, in which Egypt donated $4.5 million to Uganda to construct water catchment dams, bore holes, and fish ponds.
Egyptian investments in Uganda also include the Cairo International Bank, Egypt Air, Mantrac Uganda ltd, Arab Contractors, al-Nasr Export and Import Company and African Development Incorporation.
Trade Exchange between Egypt and Uganda increased 27 percent year-on-year to reach $66 million, Head of the Export Development Authority (EDA) Sherine el-Shorbagy said on Tuesday.
Ina conference organized by the Federation of Egyptian Industries’ Cooperation with Africa Committee, Shorbagy said that the free trade agreement signed between Egypt and Uganda in April is expected to boost cooperation between both countries by 50 percent by 2020.
Head of the Africa Committee Sherif el-Gabaly said that a visit by an Egyptian delegation of 25 businessmen to the Ugandan capital will be organized after the month of Ramadan to explore investment opportunities.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said on Monday during a press conference with his Ugandan counterpart that an Egyptian company is conducting a study to establish several projects in Uganda, with an estimated investment of$300 million, in the fields of electricity and energy.
Egypt’s eye on Africa
President Sisi visited several African countries since taking office in June 2014, participating in summits and conducting bilateral talks with the majority of the African leaders.
In June 2014, Sisi participated in the African Union Summit in the Equatorial Guinea as his first presidential visit within the continent, which was considered then a restoration of the African-Egyptian relations after years of neglect during Hosni Mubarak’s era.
Several short visits during 2015 followed the African Union Summit participation, including visits to Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda per Museveni's invitation in December 2016.
The Egyptian president encourages Egyptian investments in Africa in fields he deemed as "high priority" such as construction, infrastructure, oil and gas mining, agriculture, telecommunications and information technology.
President Sisi enhanced the Egyptian-African ties by paying visits to a number of African countries, organizing "Africa 2017" forum in Sharm El-Sheikh and hosting African youths during the World Youth Forum.