Egypt is looking to increase trade with its African neighbors while advancing its foreign policy agenda in Ethiopia and Libya.
Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi started a four-day of four African countries today (Monday), heading to Tanzania, Rwanda, Gabon and Chad.
Al-Sisi is expected to discuss the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project (GERDP) with Tanzanian and Rwandan officials.
Talks with the President of Chad will mostly revolve around Libya, an Egyptian government aide, according to The New Arab.
A statement from the Egyptian presidency said Sisi’s visit “comes within the framework of Egypt’s openness to the African continent and its keenness to further strengthen relations”.
Egypt is currently a member of the UN Security Council, representing Africa, and has recently been pushing for stronger trade with other countries on the continent.
According to the presidency’s statement, trade between Egypt and African countries increased by $300 million year-on-year to reach $4.8 billion in 2016.
The statement added that African issues have become a top priority in Egyptian foreign policy.
The issue of water security in the Nile Basin has dominated Cairo’s foreign policy discussions recently – as the GERD nears completion. The dam was expected to be completed in July, but a series of impact assessment studies have yet to be completed.
Cairo is reportedly looking to increase its trade and development ties with Rwanda and Gabon, specifically in the area of infrastructure development.
Talks in Chad are will mostly discuss the ongoing instability of Libya in light of the national political reconciliation project.
Libya’s two governments in Tobruk and Tripoli are seeking to come together under a unified civilian authority with General Haftar reportedly accepting a prominent role in a national army.