Visit to ECFA by the Ambassador of Singapore in Cairo
On July 30, 2023, Mr. Dominic Goh, the Ambassador of Singapore in Cairo, visited ECFA, along with the First Secretary, Mr. Jeremy Low, where he was received by: ECFA Chairman Ambassador Mohamed El-Oraby and ECFA Director Ambassador Dr. Ezzat Saad. The guest expressed his interest in ECFA’s organization of a joint event with the Ambassadors of the ASEAN Committee in Cairo, indicating the positive developments witnessed in the cooperation relations between Egypt and the ten ASEAN countries at all levels. ECFA Chairman welcomed the guest’s proposal, noting that ECFA had previously organized a successful symposium in this regard, on “Economic and Investment Cooperation between Egypt and ASEAN Countries,” in June 2016, in which senior officials from various ministries and concerned authorities participated, in cooperation with Singapore. The Ambassador also hailed the developments in Egypt’s relations with Singapore, noting their great interest in transferring Singapore’s successful experience in the field of port management and attracting tourists. In this context, he referred to a visit that Lieutenant General Mohamed Abbas, Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation, intends to hold soon to Singapore for this purpose.
The discussion tackled developments in the Southeast Asian region and the position of ASEAN countries regarding the US-China competition. This is while the guest asked to get acquainted with ECFA’s assessment of the Africa-Russia Summit and its outcomes, which was held on July 27-28, 2023. Ambassador Dr. Ezzat Saad, who attended the opening and closing sessions of the summit in St. Petersburg, explained that the Russian side has adopted an economic approach in this regard, not only with regard to the venue of the summit (the largest fairground in the city) in the city of St. Petersburg, the old capital of Russia, which was held under the slogan “Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum,” but also in terms of the participants in the opening session, alongside President Putin and the current African Union Chair (the Union of Comoros). Dilma Rousseff, President of the BRICS New Development Bank, former President of Brazil, and President of the African Export-Import Bank, also participated. The participation of Patriarch Kirill, “Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia” in the opening session, came to emphasize Russia’s interest in highlighting the cultural and religious commonalities with Africa in terms of its adherence to traditional values versus “Western liberal values”, and that the Russian value system is consistent with its African counterpart, which is based on respecting religious and cultural diversity and preserving family values as the nucleus of societies. It also aimed to strengthen relations between Russia and African countries, especially in the areas of politics, security, economic development, science and technology, infrastructure, education and culture. The Summit’s agenda included more than 30 debate sessions on the main issues of Africa-Russia cooperation, during which face-to-face interactions took place between politicians, businessmen, experts and the media. In general, it can be said that the Summit achieved its goals, and that holding it in itself represents a success from the perspective of the Russian side in light of the enormous Western pressure exercised on African countries to refrain from participating in the Summit.
In this context, the meeting discussed the outcomes of the 56th ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting, and the subsequent conferences of ministers of other relevant regional meetings held in Jakarta in mid-July. The guest concluded by noting that Middle Eastern countries should draw some lessons from the ASEAN experience in order to benefit from it. It was agreed that the ASEAN Ambassadors Committee would form a committee of three ambassadors to communicate with ECFA Director with the aim of developing an agenda for a joint symposium – to be held later at ECFA’s headquarters – on economic and investment cooperation between Egypt and the ASEAN countries.