CAIRO – 21 November 2019: President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi arrived in Cairo on Wednesday evening after he concluded his official visit to Berlin during which he attended the G20 Compact with Africa (CwA) and met with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Sisi, during his visit, also met with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier; German President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, and also held talks with leading German companies and Economy Minister Peter Altmaier.
Since the CwA’s launch in 2017, 12 African countries joined the initiative including Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia, according to the official website of the initiative.
The initiative seeks to "coordinate country-specific reform agendas, support respective policy measures and advertise investment opportunities to private investors," the CwA said.
Sisi and German President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble tackled international efforts of counterterrorism and the illegal migration issue at the Bundestag headquarters in Berlin on Monday, said Egyptian Presidential Spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement.
Schäuble acclaimed President Sisi and praised the bilateral relations between both countries. He also affirmed his country’s support to Egypt’s efforts in achieving a comprehensive development, which has been seen over the last few years. Radi added.
The meeting also tackled the Egyptian efforts in disseminate the culture of forgiveness and freedom of belief, Radi said.
Meeting the president
Meeting Sisi on Monday at Belle Vue presidential headquarters, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier commended the pivotal role played by Egypt to boost stability in the Middle East and Africa, especially with regard to combating illegal migration and terrorism.
Steinmeier also hailed the steps that Egypt adopted to reform its economy, and the mega national projects that are being extensively erected in the country.
He asserted Germany's keenness to support Egypt's development efforts in all fields through joint investments.
The meeting also tackled some regional and international issues of common interest, in particular the Libyan and Syrian crises, the spokesman said.
The two leaders also discussed the Palestinian cause, with both of them agreeing on the need to reach a just and comprehensive solution in accordance with relevant international terms of reference.
Talks with Mercedes-Benz
Sisi stressed on Monday Egypt’s willingness to boost the exerted efforts in the car manufacturing sector, during a meeting with Mercedes-Benz’s vice president Eckart von Klaeden.
Sisi said that Egypt is seeking to attract more investors in this field, especially after the country’s implementation of the economic reform program.
He added during the meeting attended by Minister of Investment Sahar Nasr that Egypt is open to cooperate with Mercedes-Benz in light of the well-known German experience in this field.
For his part, Klaeden said that the company is keen on continuing its discussions with Egypt in light of the company's good experience in the Egyptian market. Klaeden praised the Egyptian efforts and reforms that encourage foreign investment and promote the process of localizing modern technological industries.
Both sides discussed Mercedes-Benz’s upcoming strategy regarding cooperating with Egypt to develop Public transportation with its various means and vehicles.
The opening of the CwA
Sisi gave a speech at the opening of the CwA on Tuesday, during which he said that development in Africa will have its impact on the Mediterrenean region and will achieve mutual interests.
“As protectionism is ascending and slowdown of global trade is arising, African states are likely to suffer the most, particularly in light of problems like debts, poverty, climate change, and diseases. Africa’s location, resources, continental free trade agreement, and rise of intra-continental trade still make it an attractive investment destination,” Sisi stressed.
Sisi received in his residence in Berlin German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as they agreed to reinforce channels of consultation and coordination over regional matters of mutual interest and supraregional impact.
Both parties examined updates on the Syrian and Libyan crises and achieved congruence over the unity, territorial integrity, and cohesion of the national institutions of those states. They also agreed to develop existing military cooperation.
Sisi expressed Egypt’s eagerness “to extend cooperation with Germany in the fields of security, countering terrorism, and combating illegal migration in light of the major challenges facing the Middle East.”
On her side, Kramp-Karrenbauer expressed her appreciation for the growth in Egyptian-German relations, and the intensive coordination between both countries during the meetings of Sisi and Merkel.
The minister asserted the necessity to bolster the military and security aspect of the bilateral relations, particularly in countering terrorism, praising the Egyptian efforts on that front.
On the sidelines of the CwA, Egypt’s Minister of Investment Sahar Nasr and her German counterpart, Gerd Müller, signed €300 billion agreements on Tuesday.
The signed agreements included two financial and technical cooperation agreements worth €44.9 million for FY2017, aiming to finance several projects in the fields of energy, rehabilitation of schools, education, employment promotion, small and medium enterprises, urban infrastructure and promotion of labor market access.
Additionally, two financial and technical cooperation agreements worth €101 million for FY2018 were signed to support projects in the fields of energy, SMEs, private sector innovation, drinking water and sanitation management, solid waste management, social development and employment.
A €151.5 million protocol for FY2019 was signed between Egypt and Germany to finance several projects in the fields of electricity, renewable energy, technical education and employment, innovation in the private sector and small and medium enterprises.
Moreover, Nasr and Christine Bock, regional commissioner for the Middle East and Maghreb countries at the German Foreign Office, signed €2 million grant for the Ministry of State for Migration and Egyptian Affairs Abroad.
Basic and technical education
Sisi expressed his aspiration to develop prospects for cooperation with Germany in the field of basic and technical education, during his meeting with German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller on the same day.
Sisi said that Egypt is keen on benefiting from the German education system.
For his part, Müller assured his country’s keenness on enhancing cooperation with Egypt in all fields.
Müller praised Egypt’s economic reforms, saying that the country enjoys qualifications that drive it to success. He added that Egypt plays a key role in the MENA region to maintain stability and security.
On Wednesday, Sisi met with Chancellor Merkel, during which the latter praised the two countries' relations and cooperation, describing it as “unprecedented.”
"Egypt is one of Germany’s main partners in the Middle East as it plays a key role in maintaining stability and security in the region," Merkel said.
For his part, Sisi praised the qualitative leap witnessed by the bilateral relations between Egypt and Germany in all fields.
Sisi on the same day received German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer at the former's residence in Berlin.
During the meeting, Sisi affirmed that combating terrorism and extremist ideology with the aim of achieving security and stability is part of human rights that each state must guarantee through actual practices on the ground.
Sisi also highlighted the need for the international community to support counterterrorism efforts for the benefit of humanity and for a better future for next generations.
Boosting German investments
Germany's Economy Minister Peter Altmaier expressed his country’s appreciation to the bilateral relations with Egypt in the economic field, and voiced readiness for further bilateral cooperation, in a meeting with Sisi.
The German minister praised Egypt’s special stance and significant role in the region, which contribute to achieving stability and progress in the region. He voiced Germany’s commitment to continue its partnership with Egypt.
Altmaier stressed his country's keenness to boost cooperation and joint projects between the two countries, and pumping further investments in Egypt.
Sisi, for his part, hailed the special level of relations between Egypt and Germany in various fields, which allows further bilateral cooperation especially in the economic aspect.
He also praised the joint economic committee for its important role in increasing cooperation opportunities between the two countries in the economic field and investments. He expressed aspiration to attract further German investments to the African country.
The meeting reviewed aspects of joint cooperation between the two countries, in light of the continuous growth of Egyptian-German trade and economic relations, noting that Egypt is Germany's third largest trading partner in the Middle East.
It also dealt with the huge positive developments witnessed by the Egyptian energy sector, and the efforts to transform Egypt into a regional center for the circulation and transference of energy. This opens the door for further cooperation between Egypt and Germany in various fields including renewable energy.
Inviting German companies
Heads of many leading German companies hailed Sisi’s personal and periodical review of the measures taken to facilitate the work of German companies in Egypt, during a meeting with the Egyptian president attended by Altmaier.
The heads of the companies praised the remarkable growth of the Egyptian economy, sponsored by the efforts and procedures adopted by the Egyptian government in this regard. They referred to the implementation of giant national projects, which can make Egypt a significant developmental partner at the international level.
Sisi, for his part, expressed keenness to enhance bilateral relations of economic cooperation with German businessmen and companies, within a framework of mutual interests between the two countries.
The president also referred to a number of huge investment projects implemented in Egypt including the Suez Canal Area Development Project, which includes many major industrial and logistic areas.
Additional reporting by Amr Mohamed Kandil