The British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) held a Breakfast Briefing in Honour of H.E Gareth Bayley, British Ambassador to Egypt & H.E. Sherif Kamel, Next Egyptian Ambassador to the UK. The breakfast was attended by H.E. Dr. Rania Al Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, and H.E. Eng. Yehia Zaki, Chairman of the Suez Canal Economic Zone. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Egypt and the UK, the countries’ cooperation has continued to improve over the years. In light of COVID-19, Brexit, and Egypt’s economic reforms, the economic relations between Egypt and the UK have been progressing.
H.E. Gareth Bayley began by highlighting that Egypt is one of Africa’s most important countries and that the UK is committed to expanding investment opportunities between the two countries. With its fast-growing population, young and skilled workforce, strategic geographic position, and growing economy, Egypt is a market with a lot to offer. Its advantageous location makes it a hub to Africa, providing many investment opportunities for British businesses and making it the gateway to Africa.
H.E. Gareth Bayley is not satisfied with the level of foreign direct investment between the two countries, as he believes that both countries could do more. He is encouraging Egyptian companies to invest in the British market, affirming that the UK will have the door wide open for Egyptian investors. Also, H.E. Gareth Bayley is not pleased with the overall global FDI in Egypt; he believes that the global FDI to Egypt should be accelerating, not relatively modest.
H.E. Sherif Kamel emphasized the importance of diversifying Egypt’s economy by entering into a new set of sectors and activities. Although Egypt has an ambitious program of modernizing, he believes that it should be even more ambitious. H.E. Sherif Kamel highlights the significance of acting now. Egypt should use the opportunity presented by Brexit, as the UK seeks new ways of doing business and new destinations, which makes Egypt particularly appealing to the UK.
During the discussion, both Ambassadors agreed that Egypt’s story is not properly communicated and understood in the UK. But on the positive side, Egypt is known for its extraordinary heritage and still has an excellent story to tell abroad. With the number of tourists increasing and hosting COP27, Egypt should seize the opportunity of communicating the correct Egypt story to the rest of the world. While COP27 is a responsibility, it is also a very big opportunity. The fact that Egypt is hosting COP27 demonstrates Egypt’s commitment to a green and sustainable economy, as well as its interest in climate change projects.
The country is committed to working with other nations, particularly the UK, to accomplish COP26’s ambitious outcome and maintain momentum leading up to COP27. According to H.E. Dr. Rania Al Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, everyone has a role in the conference, whether it’s the public sector, private sector, SMEs, or civil society. There must be a collective effort from all Egyptians to show the world how Egypt is handling climate change.
H.E. Dr. Rania Al Mashat encouraged both ambassadors to create a “business bridge” between the two countries to be able to tell the Egypt story correctly. She also highlighted the fact that it’s an African COP, which means that it’s Egypt’s chance to showcase the successful business model that worked in Egypt and can be further scaled to Africa.