Egypt Leads the Way in Regional Integration of Africa and the Middle East

Egypt Leads the Way in Regional Integration of Africa and the Middle East

Egypt Leads the Way in Regional Integration of Africa and the Middle East (Source: Shutterstock)

Egypt is also working with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions to guarantee regional integration

Egypt has been working towards achieving regional integration and it is expanding cooperation with the African countries and Middle East. Egypt is expanding its ties on an economic level along with enhancing the trade relations between the regions.  

Integration Efforts

The World Bank in March approved a Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Egypt. And under the Country Partnership Framework, Egypt is set to have a much stronger role in regional integration. This would benefit Egypt and enhance the region through more trade opportunities and developments in infrastructure, energy, and transportation. Egypt joined the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) in 1998 and has been working on how Egypt could improve development and prosperity.   

Egypt is also working with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions to guarantee regional integration. The country had signed deals with Arab countries already like the Greater Arab Free Trade Agreement (GAFTA) and the Agadir Free Trade Agreement. Agadir Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2004 to create a free trade zone between Morocco, Jordan, and Tunisia.

Egypt is also developing its ports to increase trade between African and Middle East countries. The country is also enhancing its infrastructure to guarantee better trade incorporation. So, integrating MENA trade infrastructure with GCC countries would help in reducing costs and lead an intra-regional trade. The Regional Industrial Integration initiative was also begun by Egypt and emphasised the importance of infrastructural development. 

Egypt’s move to integrate with Arab nations will ensure robust trade movements. The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics revealed an increase of $4 billion in the value of trade exchange between Egypt and Arab countries. A value of $29 billion was recorded in 2022, compared to $25 billion in 2021.

Trade Cooperation  

Egypt’s desire to connect with more African countries not only enhanced the trade relations between the regions but also opened the African markets to Egyptian products. The exports from Egypt to Africa amounted to $523.79 million in June 2023. This is higher compared to $505.19 million in June 2022.

Egypt benefits from its trade and economic regional interaction with Africa and the Middle East. Nirmeen El Sayyad, UN Women Project Manager at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and an economic expert states that Egypt stated that Egypt accomplished several goals including improving economic development by increasing intra-COMESA exports and enabling trade exports.

The country can further boost regional integration with its neighbors even further. “Egypt, by opening more trade channels with MEA countries, will open doors to more export-led production, increasing employment and production levels. On another note, topping exports will increase foreign exchange returns and promote cooperation and integration with these countries. The exporting sectors will be the most advantageous, but this will require government support and facilitation, explains El Sayyad.

Enhanced connectivity in transport, infrastructure, and ports will help facilitate the flow of goods and services. This will in turn increase trade and economic growth. 

Egypt can connect its region to the European Union (EU) thanks to integration initiatives since the nation serves as a gateway to the African markets. Egypt was able to use its ports and infrastructure to help the MENA nations ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe in order to make up for the shortage brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the starting of 2022.

Egypt has been participating in a number of regional agreements and activities to address issues and boost its position as a regional trade and investment opportunity. Egypt’s attempts to integrate regional commerce are motivated by economic considerations.

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