Egypt has welcomed investments from Indian companies, saying they will benefit from a huge domestic market in Egypt, entry to the COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa — a free trade agreement between 20 African countries) and easy accessibility to other parts of the world.
Visiting Egyptian minister of international cooperation Fayza Abul Naga, who headed the Egyptian delegation to the first India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi, told that her country would seek investments by Indian companies, particularly in the energy, information technology and tourism sectors.
Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Fayza Abul El Naga speaks during the India-Africa Forum Summit 2008 in New Delhi
“A number of top-notch Indian IT companies are already in Egypt and are very successful,” she said.
Addressing a press conference shortly after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she said partnerships between Indian and Egyptian companies could be mutually beneficial in sectors like the business process outsourcing.
“While India has a large English-speaking population, Egypt has expertise in Arabian, which is another major language of communication in the world,” she said.
She listed Pharma sector as one more area where the two countries could benefit mutually.
The minister said that India and Egypt could also cooperate in Agriculture. ”Egypt can help India in developing its irrigation system,” she said in response to a question.
The minister said 56% of the Egyptian population is below the age of 25 years and it offers a huge market for Indian investments and products.
The volume of trade between India and Egypt has increased to about $2.2 billion at the end of 2006. She said the two countries are keen to increase their bilateral trade turnover to $6 billion by 2010.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will visit India soon to increase the level of cooperation between the two countries, she said, adding that India and Egypt were the two countries that initiated the concept of South-South cooperation nearly 60 years ago
When asked if there was any specific agreement between India and Egypt during the India-Africa Forum Summit, she said that since this summit was on a broader scale of cooperation between India and Africa, there was no such effort. However, she said that Egypt was a party to the documents signed during the summit, and this would result in increased cooperation between the two countries.