Several Japanese companies show their interest in expanding their business in the promising fields of communication information technology (CIT), artificial intelligence (AI), and renewable energy in line with the Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS): Egypt Vision 2030, according to an official document Daily News Egypt received upon request from the Japanese embassy to Cairo.
Currently, around 50 Japanese companies are doing business in Egypt, and many others have showed their interest in running their businesses in the country. Existing Japanese firms in Egypt operate in automobiles, electric, energy, oil and gas, construction, food, tourism, and finance.
So far, Japanese investments in Egypt reached $880m, based on 2019 data, the document added, noting that bilateral development cooperation began in 1954.
Japan’s development cooperation projects in Egypt are across a wide range of sectors, the document said, adding that Japan has been and will continue to support the sustainable development of Egypt, which is also important for achieving peace and stability in the Middle East.
52 Egyptian Japanese schools nationwide
The Egypt Japan Education Partnership (EJEP) was announced in February 2016 during President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi visit to Japan after he signed an agreement with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe. Al-Sisi showed great interest in cooperating with Japan in education, out of his belief that adopting Japanese education system, may enhance the manner, discipline, and spirit of cooperation for Egyptian youth, and continue developing Egyptian education.
The EJEP aims to empower Egyptian youth, as an important component in their endeavours to enhance the peace, stability, development, and prosperity of Egypt. Japan is to enrol more than 2,500 students and trainees from Egypt to Japan in the five years following the EJEP.
At the core of Japanese-Style Education is the holistic approach to the growth of the “entire personality” of children. Japanese-Style Education, through activities known as “Tokkatsu,” aims at the development of morale and inter-personal skills, such as cooperativeness, friendship, discipline, and sense of responsibility, in addition to academic skills focusing on the ability to think and find solutions and not only memorise facts and figures.
Regarding technical education, they will work on enhancing technical skills and improve technology and work ethics, in coordination with Japanese companies and private institutions.
Regarding the preschool stage, the schools will propagate the idea of “learning through playing.” For continuing and enhancing bilateral cooperation between the two countries, the Egypt Japan University for Science and Technology (EJUST) will boost its activities in Egypt.
Japan is working on helping develop the Egyptian education system through many projects focusing on different educational stages, starting from preschool all the way to higher education.
There are 52 Egyptian Japanese schools nationwide, with plans to reach 200.
One good example is cleaning activities at school. In Japan, cleaning is a basic group activity in society including schools, offices, and factories. By cleaning and sweeping together with their classmates, children can learn to cooperate with each other and develop their sense of responsibility and awareness of citizenship. Maintaining cleanliness is also useful for children’s health and hygiene.
GEM is Crown Jewel of Egyptian-Japanese cooperation
The Tourism sector plays an important role in creating jobs and supporting the Egyptian economy, as it is considered one of the main four sources of national income, along with petroleum exports, Suez Canal revenues, and Egyptian expatriates’ remittances.
However, there are many challenges the Egyptian tourism sector faces. The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) was launched to tackle those challenges. This enormous museum project, located only 2 km away from Giza Pyramids, aims at preserving Egyptian heritage, and will be a gift to the world, showcasing treasures of humanity to millions of visitors from all over the world in an innovative and artistic architecture. GEM will allow its visitors to enjoy cutting edge technology and rich educational and entertainment activities.
GEM is expected to display about 50,000 artefacts, including the collection of King Tutankhamun, which would contribute to developing the tourism industry and creating job opportunities in Egypt, hence social support and economic development.
GEM represents Japan’s largest cultural cooperation with any country and a new symbol of bilateral cooperation and friendship between Egypt and Japan. Japan has extended its support through two Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans with a total value of $800m, in addition to offering technical assistance for a GEM conservation centre which works on conserving, packaging, and transporting antiquities.
Technical assistance was directed also for the management and operation of the museum and its exhibitions in preparation for the GEM’s inauguration.
Excavation activities in the Pyramids area and the conservation of Khufu’s second boat, also known as the second solar boat, which is expected to become one of the most important pieces of attractions for visitors in the museum, are also implemented through Japanese technical assistance.
The GEM is expected to open this year to become one of the biggest museums in the world that showcases ancient Egyptian civilization, and attract millions of tourists to Egypt, including from Japan, to revive its position on the world touristic map.
Projects underway and past ones
Other major projects are currently underway with Japanese contribution including the New Dirout Group of Regulators in Assuit governorate, the Borg El Arab International Airport Extension, and the Cairo Metro Line 4 – Phase 1.
Furthermore, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has offered tripartite cooperation to African countries since 1985, through which Egypt offers training programmes for Africans in research and governmental institutions with the support of Japanese finance and technical expertise.
Additionally, Cairo Opera House (the construction project of the National Cultural Center) was established through a Japanese grant in 1988 to represent a beacon of culture and enlightenment in the heart of Cairo.
The Cairo University Specialized Pediatric Hospital (Abul Reish Pediatric Hospital) was established through a Japanese grant in 1982 and is widely known as “Japanese Hospital.” Japanese cooperation continued for its expansion and upgrade. Technical cooperation on the improvement of paediatric treatment, including heart disease and emergency treatment, are also provided. An outpatient facility is currently under construction with Japan’s grant assistance.
The Suez Canal Peace Bridge (Japan-Egypt Friendship Bridge), established through a Japanese grant in 2001, is the only cable-stayed bridge connecting Asia and Africa.