Interview: Joining BRICS summit opens new horizons for Egypt's economy: veteran journalist
2017-09-01 13:07:22 Source: Xinhua

by Mahmoud Fouly

CAIRO, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's participation in the BRICS summit will open new horizons for Egypt's economy as it will boost its economic cooperation with the bloc, the head of Egypt's largest state-run newspaper Al-Ahram told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

"I hope one day Egypt becomes a BRICS member, not just a guest of honor, because this will open massive horizons for cooperation with the group's members, which will surely be very beneficial to the Egyptian economy," said Abdel-Mohsen Salama, chief executive officer of Al-Ahram Foundation and head of Egypt's Syndicate of Journalists.

At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi will soon fly to the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen to attend the ninth summit of the large economic bloc scheduled for Sept. 3-5.

The BRICS summit was first launched by Brazil, Russia, India and China in 2006 and expanded to include South Africa in 2010.

"We appreciate China's support for the Egyptian economy, which was clearly shown when Egypt suffered a shortage of foreign currency and China made a currency swap deal with Egypt to carry out trade exchange in their local currencies," Salama told Xinhua.

"That move positively affected the Egyptian economic conditions then," he added.

The economic cooperation between Egypt and China is a "win-win situation" as China could help boost the Egyptian economy while Egypt can be China's commercial portal in the Arab and African worlds, Salama noted.

Under the leadership of Sisi and Xi, the Sino-Egyptian ties have been elevated to a comprehensive strategic partnership, while the bilateral trade volume increased to 11.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, making Egypt China's third largest trade partner in Africa.

Salama, who will be part of the Sisi-led delegation to Xiamen, expects his first visit to China to be a chance for learning more about the Chinese experience which has turned the country into the second largest economy in the world in a few decades.

"The Chinese experience needs to be well examined. I would like to learn more about the details of the Chinese experience as it is important to my personal knowledge and to my career as a chief journalist in Egypt," the veteran journalist said.

Egypt sees its participation in the BRICS summit as a good opportunity to continue consultation with China on various issues of mutual interest and to follow up on their joint projects in many fields, given that several Chinese companies are promoting infrastructure projects in Egypt.

In a recent interview with Chinese media, Sisi said the BRICS Business Forum, a major side-event of the BRICS summit, is a good opportunity to present the economic reform by the Egyptian government and its measures to attract foreign investment.

"Egypt needs technical aid from China to learn how to copy the Chinese industrial experience in Egypt, so that Egypt can change from an interest-based economy to a production-based one," said Salama.

The Al-Ahram chief expressed the hope that China can help Egypt by exporting its expertise to the Arab country, "especially in the industrial fields where China has achieved a lot of progress."

Egypt is also a focal point in China's Belt and Road Initiative launched by Xi four years ago. The initiative comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, designed to revive ancient trade routes to link China with a number of countries in Asia, Africa and Europe through trade and infrastructure networks.

Salama hailed the initiative as a "very important and active springboard" for further economic cooperation through sustainable development projects among the states along the Belt and Road routes.

"Egypt attaches importance to this initiative and takes part in it, as it comes within the framework of fast-growing economic relations between Egypt and China," Salama said.