27 November 2022 05:36 PM

Egyptian-Cameroonian Relations

Monday، 22 June 2020 - 10:19 PM

Introduction

Egypt has been one of the first countries to have diplomatic relations with Cameroon since the latter's independence in 1960. Moreover, Egypt has a significant presence in Cameroon through a number of Egyptian companies working in infrastructure, energy, and trade sectors. Furthermore, there are 35 envoys from Al-Azhar in 22 Cameroonian cities and villages .

Political relations

Egypt and Cameroon have good bilateral relations. Relations between the two countries have improved during the last four years, as part of President Abdel Fattah El- Sisi's strategy to strengthen relations with the  African countries. Thus, at present, the bilateral cooperation between the two countries in all fields is promoted and coordination between the two sides in all regional and international forums and organizations is improved .

- On May 19, 2019, Cameroon's ambassador to Cairo Mohamadou Labarang praised the depth of relations between his country and Egypt, describing them as 'excellent relations' on the political level. The Cameroonian ambassador said that the economic cooperation between Egypt and Cameroon did not reflect the political relations. He expressed his hope that the economic cooperation would increase for the benefit of the two peoples. He referred to the mutual visits between officials of the two countries, as the Cameroonian Defense Minister paid two visits to Egypt during the past period. Besides, Cameroon's justice minister will take part in the anti-corruption conference to be held in Cairo in June.

The Cameroonian ambassador to Cairo praised the huge projects currently carried out in Egypt, particularly the Suez Canal projects he recently visited. He noted that he has been Cameroon's ambassador to Cairo for nearly eleven years, but he did not witness a real breakthrough in Egypt before the era of President Abd El- Fattah El-Sisi .

Ambassador Mohamadou Labarang expressed his happiness that President Abd El- Fattah El-Sisi was the chairperson of the African Union and commended President Sisi's efforts to move the continent forward, for example, the free trade agreement will come into force at the end of May. The ambassador praised President Sisi's policy in Africa, as reflected in the president's various visits to a large number of African countries, as well as the visits by a number of African leaders to Egypt. He added that Cameroon has great potentials and natural wealth, and that they look forward to increase cooperation and investment with Egypt. Moreover, he declared that the coming period will witness the operation of an EgyptAir airline between his country and Egypt, which will contribute to the promotion of tourism and trade between the two countries .

Mutual visits by delegations

During the last three years, Egyptian-Cameroonian relations have witnessed a remarkable development at all levels as reflected in the mutual visits of senior officials of the two countries. Examples of these visits are the visit of the Cameroonian Minister of Industry and Mining to Cairo in April 2017 and his fruitful discussions with the ministers of industry, trade, petroleum, and mineral resources. In November 2016, the First Deputy of Administrative Supervisory Authority paid a visit to Yaoundé, which resulted in the signing of a memorandum of understanding in the field of anti-corruption, as the strategy of the two countries concerning the war against terrorism is identical .

- On October4,  2017, AmbassadorHamdi Sanad Loza, Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs visited Cameroon to deliver a message from President Abd El- Fattah El-Sisi to Cameroon President Paul Biya. It addressed ways to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries at all levels, Egypt's vision concerning the most prominent regional and international issues, as well as extending thanks to Cameroon for supporting Egypt's and Africa's candidate Ambassador Moshera Khattab for the post of Director-General of the UNESCO .

- On May 31, 2017, Cameroonian Defense Minister Beti Assomo Joseph  visited Egypt. He was received by General Sedki Sobhi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Minister of Defense and Military Production. They discussed many issues of common interest in light of partnership and cooperation relations between the two countries in various fields. Besides, they discussed the developments of the current situation and its repercussions on the African continent .

- On April 17, 2017, The Cameroonian Minister of Mines, Industry and Technological Development, Ernest Gbwaboubou, visited Egypt and was received by Minister of Petroleum and Mineral wealth, Tarek Al-Mulla. The two sides discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries in the fields of oil, mining, and the exchange of experiences in the field of exploitation of mineral resources, in a way that creates promising prospects for partnership between the two countries .

- On March 10, 2020, Chief of Staff of the Cameroon Armed Forces René Claude Meka , and an accompanying delegation visited Egypt. He was received by Dr. Muhammad Sa'eed Al-Assar, State Minister for Military Production. They discussed ways of cooperation in the fields of military and civil manufacturing.

Al-Assar stressed the interest of the Ministry of Military Production in cooperation with the Cameroonian Ministry of Armed Forces in the field of supplying military equipment, weapons and ammunition, training technicians and transferring the experience gained over the years by military production ministry to participate in the establishment of factories for the production of weapons, ammunition, and equipment in Cameroon. In addition to that, he stressed the attention paid by the political leadership to strengthen the relations with African countries, open markets there, and exchange expertise, manufacturing technology and technical information in various fields of manufacturing .

The meeting reviewed the technological, technical, and human capabilities of the companies and units of the Ministry of Military Production. Moreover, they discussed ways of cooperation in the fields of importing equipment of the civil products of the military production factories, importing medical devices, participating in the implementation of road pavement projects, manufacturing components of solar energy systems, and participating in the implementation of IT systems and programs. It was noted that Cameroon Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces is scheduled to visit two factories affiliated to the Ministry of Military Production to review the technology they have in the fields of military and civil manufacturing.

An invitation was extended to The Chief of Staff of the Cameroonian Armed Forces for the Cameroonian companies to participate in the International Arms Fair (EDEX 2020) in Egypt in December 2020 .

Chief of Staff of the Cameroonian Armed Forces expressed his aspiration to strengthen cooperation with the Ministry of Military Production, praising the manufacturing and technical capabilities of the Ministry of Military Production and its role in providing the requirements of the Egyptian Armed Forces. He asserted the importance of Egypt's role in confronting terrorism in the region and valued the efforts made to strengthen relations in Africa. He also expressed his aspiration to open the horizons of cooperation with military production companies in various fields of manufacturing .

At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that a technical team from the Cameroonian Armed Forces and Cameroonian companies would visit the military production companies to identify areas of future cooperation .

Economic relations

Trade between Egypt and Cameroon increased to $44.9 million in 2018, from $34.3 million in 2017, according to a report issued by the Department of African States and Organizations and the COMESA Unit of the Egyptian Commercial Service.

The Report states that Egypt's exports to Cameroon rose to $43.5 million in 2018 from $29.5 million in 2017.

Imports fell to $1.4 million in 2018 from $4.75 million in 2017, the report added .

The trade balance achieved a surplus to Egypt by $42.12 million in 2018, compared to $24.75 million in 2017, the report said. In addition to that, there are several projects, related to the construction of a model farm in Cameroon in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture, are being implemented. Recently, a delegation of Egyptian experts visited Cameroon to work to speed up the implementation of this important project, which comes within the framework of friendship between the two countries. Moreover, there are projects for raising livestock, and establishing slaughterhouses for meat exportation .

Within the framework of increasing trade and service exchanges, particularly in infrastructure projects, the Minister of Economy and the Cameroonian Minister of Industry agreed to prepare an agreement to regulate the Egyptian-Cameroonian relations in this regard and to discuss ways to facilitate the registration of Egyptian medicines there and open ports to facilitate exchange between the two countries .

The Arab Contractors company is present in the Cameroonian market and has succeeded in winning two projects, namely the first phase of the Yaoundé-Crepe project, and the northern entrance project of the capital Yaoundé. The 'Arab Contractors' company has great opportunities there as President Paul Biya gives great importance to improving the country's infrastructure. In addition to that, there are projects to construct a road network linking 'Douala', the main port, to the capitals of a number of neighboring Central African countries .

Elsewedy Cables company works in the Cameroonian market through a project to build three power plants with a total capacity of 40 MW and a cost of up to $40 million .

Within the framework of boosting the Egyptian-Cameroonian relations, Cameroon received a food aid shipment from the Egyptian Food Fund. The role of Egyptian experts in the trilateral cooperation between Cameroon, Egypt and FAO, and the grants provided by the Fund to Cameroon annually are appreciated.

In terms of medical services, a delegation of Egyptian doctors held a conference in the Cameroonian capital to discuss ways of cooperation between the two countries in this field. The conference was attended by 12 professors and researchers from the Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University.

In 1983, the Joint Egyptian-Cameroonian Medical Conference was held in the capital, Yaoundé, to discuss the possibility of scientific cooperation between the two countries. In this conference, Egypt was represented by a delegation consisting of 12 professors and researchers from Alexandria's Faculty of Medicine .

- On September 22,  2000, the Egyptian Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade and the Cameroonian Minister of Industry and Trade agreed to prepare an agreement to set a framework for the development of relations between the two sides in order to increase trade and service exchange, particularly in infrastructure projects, and discuss facilitating the registration of Egyptian medicines in Cameroon. The two ministers stressed the importance of establishing a free storage zone in the ports of both countries so as to promote direct trade and mutual exportation .

                                                                          

- On July 12, 2001, the Cameroonian Minister of Agriculture discussed, during his visit to Egypt, with the Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture boosting cooperation between the two countries in agricultural field within the framework of the protocol of cooperation signed during the work of the Joint Egyptian-Cameroonian Committee held in Cairo in October 2000 .

- On May 4, 2005, the Cameroonian Minister of Foreign Relations visited Cairo to renew and deepen relations between the two countries in various fields. He expressed his appreciation for the technical assistance provided by Egypt to Cameroon, as well as his country's satisfaction with the development of the bilateral relations between the two countries .

- On August 5, 2007, the Cameroonian Minister of State for Rural Development held a ceremony in the city of Douala on the occasion of Cameroon receiving the food aid shipment from the Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa (EFTCA) (about 160 tons of rice and flour). The Cameroonian minister praised the role of Egyptian experts who worked within the framework of the trilateral cooperation (Egypt-Cameroon-FAO), as well as the numerous annual training scholarships provided by the Fund to Cameroon .

- On September 7, 2008, the Egyptian Foreign Minister held a meeting with the Cameroonian Minister of Foreign Relations in Cairo. The talks discussed ways to strengthen economic relations and trade exchange, particularly in light of the ongoing negotiations between a number of economic blocs and the European Union to conclude economic partnership agreements between the two countries. They also discussed some regional and international issues of common interest, on top of which; Cameroon's nominations for international positions, the most recent one is the International Court of Justice .

- On January 22,  2020, Hisham Tawfiq, Minister of Public Sector, led a delegation comprising representatives of the Ministries of Military Production, Agriculture and Petroleum, as well as Arab Contractors company and the Commercial Wood Company of the Ministry of Public Sector, visited Cameroon. During the visit, the delegation discussed opportunities for cooperation in the field of wood. Moreover, the delegation met with State Minister for Forestry and Wildlife as well as representatives of the authorities concerned with this field in Cameroon. The two sides discussed ways to strengthen and support cooperation between the two countries .

A memorandum of understanding

A memorandum of understanding between Egypt and Cameroon in November 2016 in the field of anti-corruption includes the exchange of information on the various mechanisms adopted by the countries within the framework of the protection of public funds, as well as the organization of training courses for the Cameroonian side. This comes within the framework of Egypt's efforts to combat all forms of corruption due to the importance of this in achieving sustainable development and stability at various levels .

Cooperation in the field of environment

- The Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa (EFTCA) sends seven experts to Cameroon (four doctors and three teachers of Arabic language). The Cameroonian side has asked to increase the number of Arabic language teachers at the Universities of Boya and Maroua, as well as the number of doctors .

Last year, the Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa provided medicine aid for a hospital in Foumban. In 2008, a medical equipment aid was provided to the hospital of the institution of the first lady Chantal Biya. Besides, the director of the hospital asked the Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa to provide them with medical equipment. (Message No. 70, Feb. 16, 2010)

The Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa agreed to provide the International School of Security in Cameroon with some of its technical and logistical needs. (Message No. 62, Feb.12, 2010 ( .

The Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa organizes several courses in diplomacy, judiciary, security, defense, nursing, safe motherhood, rice cultivation and tourism .

The Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa provided medical aid to Cameroon to support its efforts to combat the cholera epidemic. In addition to that, the Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa agreed to finance drilling four wells .

Cultural relations

Al-Azhar plays a significant cultural role; an agreement was concluded with the Ministry of Primary Education to send 20 teachers to French primary schools in Cameroon to teach Arabic in coordination with Al-Azhar .

In addition to that, there are 32 envoys from Al-Azhar in the ten Cameroonian provinces to spread the teachings of moderate Islam. Al-Azhar offers 10 scholarships to Cameroonian students to study at Al-Azhar. However, this year Cameroon benefited from three scholarships only.

Cameroon benefits from the Imams' grants provided by Al-Azhar every year in addition to the Qura'n reciters in Ramadan each year .

- The Nubian Drums Band gave a performance in 2008 as a participation in Cameroon’s National Day celebrations. The band’s performances were well received by Cameroonians. The Egyptian Ministry of Culture accepted an invitation to send the band again to Cameroon. Besides, it was agreed that the Cameroonian Ballet Band will be hosted to give performances in Egypt and the Egyptian side will bear the accommodation expenses .

Military relations

- On March 10, 2020, Chief of Staff of the Cameroon Armed Forces René Claude Meka  and an accompanying delegation visited Egypt. They were received by Dr. Muhammad Sa'eed Al-Asar, Minister of State for Military Production. The two sides discussed ways of cooperation in the fields of military and civil manufacturing.

Al-Assar emphasized the interest of the Ministry of Military Production in cooperation with the Cameroon Armed Forces ministry in the field of supplying military equipment, weapons, and ammunition, training of technicians, and transfer of experience of Ministry of Military Production to participate in building factories for the production of weapons, ammunition, and equipment in Cameroon. He also emphasized the interest of the political leadership in strengthening ties with various African countries, opening markets there and exchanging experiences, manufacturing technology and technical information in various manufacturing fields .

The meeting reviewed the technological, technical, and human capabilities available in companies and units affiliated to the Ministry of Military Production. Moreover, they discussed  ways of cooperate in the field of supplying equipment and devices of civil products to military production factories, supplying medical devices as well as participating in road pavement projects, manufacturing components of solar energy systems, and participating in the implementation of IT systems and programs. It was noted that the Chief of Staff of the Cameroon Armed Forces is scheduled to visit two factories for armored production and repair (200 Al-Harbi and Abu Za'bal for Specialized Industries (300 Al-Harbi)) to see the available technological capabilities in the fields of military and civil manufacturing .

The Chief of Staff of the Cameroon Armed Forces was invited to allow the Cameroonian companies to participate in the international arms exhibition "'EDEX 2020"' scheduled to be held in Egypt next December .

Chief of Staff of the Cameroon Armed Forces René Claude Meka expressed his aspiration to enhance cooperation with the Ministry of Military Production, praising the industrial and technical capabilities of the Ministry of Military Production and its role in providing the requirements of the Egyptian armed forces. He stressed the importance of the role that Egypt plays to counter terrorism in the region and praised the exerted efforts to consolidate relations in the African continent. He expressed his aspiration to open the horizons of cooperation with military production companies in various manufacturing fields .

At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that a technical team from the Cameroon Armed Forces and the Cameroonian companies would visit the military production companies to see their capabilities and determine the areas of future cooperation between them .

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