Sherine El Shourbagui, executive director of the Exports Development Authority (EDA), said Egypt will participate in three major international trade fairs, including one in China in November.
“We were invited to the first Chinese imports fair because China knows well our strategic importance as a main market in Africa and also because the Chinese exports to Egypt shrank by 30% in 2017,” El Shourbagui said at a seminar organised by the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) on Monday.
El Shourbagui said Egypt won hostage of an African fair next December following a competition with other African countries, the fair will be organised with collaboration of Afrexim Bank, adding that Egypt will contribute with $1.8mn of the total needed cost for organising the fair.
The Fair will be organised in 5th settlement, New Cairo on an area of 40,000 m from 11 to 17 December 2018, noted El Shourbagui.
El Shourbagui called the Egyptian companies to participate in Expo 2020 in Dubai noting that UAE will host the fair for the first time and it is setting up a whole city to host the fair which means it will be a huge fair.
Meanwhile, El Shourbagui added that total imports shrank by more than 30% from $71bn in 2015 to about $58bn in 2017 which helped to improve the trade balance situation, noting that exports grew during the first three months of 2018 compared to the same period of 2017.
“We had a good start to the current year in terms of exports which will support us to achieve our ambitious plans to boost exports,” said El Shourbagui, adding that the authority hopes to record $30bn in exports by 2020.
El Shourbagui noted that achieving 2020 goals requires that exporters enter new markets and also helping new exporters to begin operations, adding, “we have had the same number of Egyptian exporters in the past 10 years ago and they are seasonal exporters”.
El Shourbagui added that the French market has many opportunities to attract more Egyptian agricultural products.
Boosting Egypt’s exports strategy is based on many pillars, including helping new exporters recognise the offered opportunities via the export map that is available via the expoegypt portal and encouraging cooperation with the EgyTrade programme, which was adopted by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Transport Ministry, and Finance Ministry.
“The EgyTrade programme plays an important role in coping with digitalised ports. All the global ports deal with high technology systems,” added El Shourbagui, noting that boosting exports needs many stakeholders to collaborate, including banks, ministries, and the private sector.
El Shourbagui said the she feels the Egyptian banking sector’s great interest in supporting exports. However, it cannot develop a facility to seriously boost exportation, emphasising the importance of governmental entities communicating to achieve positive results.
The exports strategy’s pillars include boosting the private sector’s awareness of the benefits that are offered by bilateral trade agreements, said El Shourbagui, noting, “companies always do not know many benefits and we try our hardest to spread awareness of trade agreements.”
The Exports Development Authority organised three trade missions to Africa, to Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Rwanda, to strengthen cooperation with the African continent, mentioned El Shourbagui.
Meanwhile, Hassan Behnam, general manager of FCCI, said that the chamber is organising a trade mission for SMEs to France on the occasion of the SIAL food exhibition in October, adding that the visit will include a tour of SIAL, business-to-business meetings, site visits to some factories, and meetings with French officials.
Behnam noted that the French leadership pays great attention to Africa, which will significantly help Egypt benefit from the new directives, adding that there is huge potential for African-French collaboration.
Behnam asked for EDA support to organise the planned trade mission and El Shourbagui responded positively, asking Behnam to submit an official request.
J Dorra Fiani, of FCCI’s agribusiness committee, suggested setting up an Egyptian governmental office in France to support Egyptian agribusiness exporters, calling for conducting a study on the French market’s opportunities, especially in the field of fruits and vegetables.
In that context, El Shourbagui noted that there is already a governmental office of El Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Company, but it is not operational, adding, “we will mull making full use of the office. Since we already have a location, we should use it instead of searching for another location.”
El Shourbagui added that she will have a meeting with Business France in July to discuss boosting trade exchange between both countries.
El Shourbagui said that the French Embassy in Egypt will help conduct a detailed study on the French market’s opportunities in the domain of agribusiness.