The Council hosted on February 6, 2020, Mr. Ely Sy Beye, Ambassador of the Republic of Senegal to Egypt, upon his request, accompanied by Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Gueye, the Embassy’s Advisor for Cultural Affairs. The meeting was attended by Their Excellencies the ambassadors: Dr. Mounir Zahran, Chairman of the Council; Mohamed Al-Naqli; Adel Al-Salousi; Council Members; as well as Prof. Mohamed Kassem, businessman and member of the Council; and Mr. Youssef Wali, representative of the Egyptian-European Council (EEC).
The meeting began with the Chairman of the Council offering a welcome to the ambassador, the advisor to the embassy and the participants, noting the great importance Egypt attaches to the African continent, and what the state has been working on since President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi took office, who was keen to emphasize that the first concern of the Egyptian foreign policy is the African sphere.
The Senegalese ambassador expressed his happiness for holding this meeting, praising the strong relations between the presidents of the two countries, expressing his hope that it will be activated on the ground in all fields, especially as it has not risen to this day to express the truth about what the two countries have in terms of common potentials, praising the Egyptian efforts made to interact with the continent’s issues, which emerged more clearly in the work of the African summit hosted by the city of Sharm el-Sheikh as well as the Aswan Forum, noting the importance of working towards achieving rapprochement between the peoples of the continent through the enhancement of cooperation in the fields of culture, education and tourism and not only being limited to political, diplomatic and economic aspects, stressing that trade relations between the two countries are still not up to the required level, which requires holding meetings and reciprocal visits at all levels and not just being limited to the presidential level.
He emphasized the importance of joint work to strengthen and develop the bonds between the two countries, and to overcome all obstacles, calling on the Egyptian side to invest in the country’s large hydrocarbon reserves, as well as introducing investment opportunities in Egypt to Senegalese investors and for the joint ministerial committee scheduled to be held in March 2020, which includes ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Health, to contribute to activation of areas of cooperation between the two sides. He also stressed the importance of tourism and culture sectors in strengthening ties between the peoples of the two countries, adding that Ms. Enas Abdel Dayem, the Egyptian Minister of Culture, is invited to attend the 2021 Dakar International Book Fair, and he also stressed the importance of studying the granting of free visas to Senegalese to enter Egypt, based on the principle of reciprocity, especially since there exists a great difficulty in granting this visa, and even he himself faced such a challenge during taking over his work in Egypt, where he was only granted a one-time entry visa; moreover, he stressed the importance of working on studying the launch of direct flights between the two countries, especially as Egypt Air is a large company that flies to all destinations in Europe unlike its African counterparts.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Senegalese ambassador emphasized the following:
Regarding cooperation in the textile industry, he stressed the importance of overcoming the language barrier, especially since Senegal and the Francophone group of countries, despite their capabilities and resources, face difficulties related to communication.
He called for the Council to attend the meetings of the African Committee of Ambassadors to exchange views and inform them about the future of economic cooperation between Egypt and the countries of the continent so that it could be discussed during the ambassadors’ meetings, calling for joint work between the Council and other institutions with African ambassadors to develop a strategy through which the desired cooperation can be strengthened in all fields, and to overcome related challenges.