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19 Feb 2020

Lukashenko meets with Egypt president

Lukashenko meets with Egypt president

CAIRO, 19 February (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko is holding talks with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on 19 February. The meeting of the heads of state is taking place in Al-Ittihadiya Palace, Egypt’s official presidential headquarters, BelTA has learned.

The talks started with an official welcoming ceremony. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi greeted Aleksandr Lukashenko at the entrance to the palace. After the national anthems were sung and the silent drill platoon performed, the presidents embarked on one-on-one talks to be later joined by members of their delegations.

Belarus-Egypt key projects

At present Belarus and Egypt are working on a dozen projects, with half of them in the manufacturing sector. The parties are scaling up production of machinery of MAZ, MTZ, Bobruiskagromash, Amkodor and MMZ.

The two countries need not only to manufacture products, but also to make sure these products sell well. They should also arrange maintenance service and personnel training.

Collaborative efforts in science also hold a lot of promise. In 2019 researchers of the two countries carried out projects in metal technology, powder metallurgy, genetics and general and inorganic chemistry on the conditions of co-financing.

Belarus also wants to increase the export of woodworking products and furniture to Egypt. More than that, Belarus provides training in woodworking and furniture manufacturing for Egyptian specialists. In 2019 teachers of Belarusian State Technological University took part in the first training program in design and furniture-making in Egypt. The courses will continue this year.

Other projects in education include the setting up of a joint engineering department by Belarusian National Technical University (BNTU) and Tabbin Institute for Metallurgical Studies. It enrolled first students in October 2019. Now they are studying Russian, and in the autumn they will be enrolled as first-year students of BNTU.

Business’ perspective

A business match-making session is taking place in Cairo on the sidelines of Aleksandr Lukashenko’s visit. It has brought together more than 30 Belarusian companies and about 120 businesses from Egypt. Chairman of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BelCCI) Vladimir Ulakhovich told reporters that the parties are preparing to sign new agreements and contracts. “Companies from a broad spectrum of economic activities are taking part in the event. The economic sectors they represent include mechanical engineering, petrochemical industry, textile industry, food production, and high technology,” he noted.

According to Vladimir Ulakhovich, bilateral cooperation in mechanical engineering should be more vibrant. “This cooperation should gain traction, because the market is very promising,” he noted.

New initiatives include a water purification project. This project aroused a huge interest across Egyptian provinces. Details of the project will be discussed at the Belarus-Egypt business forum in Cairo. “Science is a new avenue of cooperation and it has made much progress. There are some promising technological niches that we can fill,” Vladimir Ulakhovich said.

In his words, the products manufactured jointly by Belarus and Egypt could be sold in North Africa and the Middle East. The parties should keep this in mind while promoting their cooperation.

Milestones of Belarus-Egypt relations

This is the third visit of Aleksandr Lukashenko to Egypt in the history of bilateral relations. The Belarusian head of state had previously visited Cairo in 1998 and 2017. In June 2019 the Egypt president made his first official visit to Belarus. In 2015 the two leaders met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Thus, today Aleksandr Lukashenko and  Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will meet for the fourth time.

In 2019 the bilateral trade expanded 32% up to $142 million. Belarus export amounted to $116.5 million, up 40%. Since Aleksandr Lukashenko’s last visit to Cairo three years ago, the trade between Belarus and Egypt had totaled a third of a billion dollars.

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