A number of Italian companies are willing to invest in Egypt and establish new projects in various industrial and trade sectors, according to Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour.
The minister’s comments came after a Monday meeting with Secretary General of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Michele Valensise.
The coming months will witness new plans and programmes that aim at expanding economic cooperation between both countries, Valensise said, adding that the Suez Canal Development project will be included in Italy’s investment map.
The meeting, which was attended by Italian ambassador Maurizio Massari, also addressed the recent developments on the economic and political levels in addition to issues of “mutual interest”.
“There are great opportunities for Italian investors in the fields of energy production and renewable energy,” Abdel Nour said, according to a statement from the ministry.
The Italian government allocated €13m to support small and medium enterprises in Egypt, Valensise noted.
Abdel Nour stressed the importance of forming a joint governmental committee working on a bilateral level to pursue topics of common interest and settle trade problems that may arise between both countries.
The possibility of establishing a direct shipping line in order to facilitate trade exchange between both countries was also discussed.
Last week, Italy lifted its travel alerts on Egypt. Following the violent dispersal of a sit-in carried out by supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi in August, many foreign governments warned citizens and travel agents to halt trips to Egypt amid the fear of violence.
The attendees also discussed methods of preparing for the joint Egyptian-Italian business council meeting in March or April, which will be attended by the Italian Minister of Economic Development along with a number of Italian companies.
According to the statement, Abdel Nour said the meeting would focus on attracting investments to the Suez Canal Development project, the implementation of which will begin after six months following the end of the studies, he said.
Valensise also met on Sunday with deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Cooperation Ziad Bahaa El Din, where they discussed bilateral cooperation.
According to a statement issued from the Ministry of International Cooperation, three agreements between the two countries have been signed under the framework of the debt swap programme between Egypt and Italy.
Italy and Egypt signed in 2001 the debt swap agreement with the aim of converting eligible Official Development Assistance (ODA) debt by Egypt to Italy into financial resources to implement developmental projects in Egypt.
The first tranche, which ended in 2006, involved funding 55 projects in different sectors with $150m in investments. In 2007, the two countries signed the second tranche agreement, which involves projects with a value of $100m, and are currently being implemented.
The third tranche, which is valued at $100m, was signed in 2012 in order to finance projects in the fields of food security, education, higher education, agriculture, civil society, environment and preservation of cultural heritage.