FILE- Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi – Press photo
CAIRO – 23 May 2019: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi embarked on an African tour on Thursday to four African countries, namely Zambia, South Africa, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said Egypt’s state-owned Al Ahram newspaper on Thursday.
Zambia is Sisi’s first leg as he will stay for two days at Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu’s invitation,
reported Zambian Foreign Minister Joseph Malanji.
“Egypt, as the chair of the African Union, has taken a huge role in maintaining peace and security in the Middle East, and Zambia being the chair of the organ for peace and security for SADC; the two Heads of State will exchange views and collaborate at continental level”, he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
South Africa would be Sisi’s second station, where he will attend the inauguration ceremony of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa due to be held on Friday at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, as it was announced by South African Minister of Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma last week.
“The president [Ramaphosa] invited heads of governments of SADC countries and the presidents who chair economic blocs like ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States), as well as the president who is chairing the AU,” the minister said in a press conference on the preparation for the inauguration on Thursday.
Being the head of the African Union (AU) in 2019, President Sisi will head a high-profile delegation to enhance the bilateral relations. In a phone call on May 12, President Sisi congratulated President Ramaphosa for his new term in presidency.
The inauguration will be attended by the heads of Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states, which includes Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Ramaphosa paid Egypt an official visit on April 22, during which he discussed with president Sisi ways of enhancing bilateral relations and African development strategies in light of Egypt’s chairmanship of the African Union, according to a statement from the Egyptian presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi.