FILE – Former Prime Minister Sherif Ismail
CAIRO – 10 September 2018: Carrying a message from Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Presidential Aide for National and Strategic Projects Sherif Ismail is set to meet the President of the Republic of Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba to discuss reviving bilateral ties.
Ismail will meet with Ondimba during his visit to the Central African state from September 9 to 11, to discuss trade between both countries in wood, agriculture, as well as health and combatting terrorism, Ahmed Bakr, Egypt’s Ambassador in Gabon said.
During the meeting, Ismail and Ondimba are set to discuss increasing the number of Egyptian businessmen in the Gabonese market, mainly in the fields of energy and infrastructure.
Sherif Ismail is an Egyptian engineer, who took office as the Prime Minister in 2015 during the incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s first term in office. Ismail resigned this year on June 5, three days after Sisi was sworn in for a second term. Engineer Mostafa Madbouly, who has served as the Housing Minister, succeeded Ismail, and was tasked by Sisi on June 7 to form the new cabinet.
According to the Egyptian Ambassador, Ismail will also meet with the Gabonese Vice Presidentand the Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic to discuss issues of mutual concern and ways to enhance bilateral ties.
Isamil is set to also meet with a number of Gabonese ministers, including the Minister of AgricultureBiendiMaganga Moussavouand the Gabonese Minister of Energy to discuss establishing a mutual farm, especially for growing rice. The officials will also discuss chances for Egyptian companies to carry out projects in Gabon in the fields of energy and infrastructure, Bakr added.
Ismail, Egypt’s former Prime Minister, will also visit a number of Gabonese lands allocated for Egypt to establish an MDF plant funded by the two states, on an area of 10 hectares (100,000 square meters), Bakr said. The factory will expectedly produce about 200,000 cubic meters of wood annually, according to Bakr, and most production will be exported to Egypt, according to the Egyptian Ambassador.
Egypt’s relations with its African neighbors have witnessed positive escalations during the past period, especially since the election of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in 2014.
According to the State Information Service's (SIS) analysis report on Sisi's official foreign visits released last August, about 30 percent of foreign delegation since he took office in June 2014 were to African countries or to participate in African meetings and summits.
The SIS report stated that out of 69 official visits, Sisi headed to 21 African countries, including Sudan, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Algeria, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Gabon and Chad.
He also met with 112 African leaders, as well as other officials, whether during their visits to Egypt or while participating in international meetings and summits.
The African leaders were from Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Central African Republic, Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Niger and Mauritania.