|Landmark: The New Suez Canal mega project to be inaugurated on August 6. — Photo courtesy of the embassy
To mark the 63rd anniversary of Egypt's National Day and the July 1952 Revolution, Ambassador Youssef K. Hanna provides a look at developments in recent years.
This year, Egypt celebrates the 63rd Anniversary of its glorious 1952 Revolution which remains a landmark in the history of independence movements not only in Egypt, but also in the Arab world, Africa and all over the world.
Many important developments have taken place in Egypt during the last few years. Egypt has already taken important steps on the road map towards the future by adopting a new constitution and electing a new president.
We are now preparing to hold a parliamentary election, the third and last step. These developments have paved the way for Egypt to resume its historical role on both regional and international levels.
Since our celebration last year, Egypt has embarked on a number of mega projects, aiming at revitalising the economy with the target of sustainable GDP of six per cent by 2018-19. One of these projects is the New Suez Canal which will be inaugurated in a few days with the attendance of many world leaders and high-level delegations. The project will contribute to facilitating international trade and maritime transportation. Egypt will proceed with many other major projects that will help achieve its sustainable and comprehensive development.
The Egyptian economy is one of the most varied of the Middle East economies, where the tourism, agriculture, industry and service sectors contribute almost and equal ratio to national production, with a total GDP of US$275 billion. Its strategic geographical location also allows easy access to the African, Arab, Asian and European markets.
The "Egypt Economic Development Conference" was held in Sharm El Shekh in March 2015. The conference was attended by many heads of state and high level delegations from friendly countries, including Viet Nam, as well as many important economic, business, financial and investment entities. The conference was a good opportunity for Egypt to showcase its potentials, and since then many new investment contracts have been concluded.
Tourism is a vital part of Egypt's economy. It accounts for 12 per cent of GDP, 48 per cent of service exports, 19 per cent of foreign currency revenues and about 13 per cent of total direct and indirect employment. Egypt hopes to increase its revenue from tourism by attracting 20 million visitors by 2020.
The Pyramids, Sphinx and other Pharaonic heritage are the most famous sites in Egypt. But a cruise on the river Nile reveals a wealth of this heritage especially in upper Egypt, where the Valley of the Kings, Luxor temple and all other Pharaonic monuments capture the hearts and minds of visitors. Safaris also offer the chance to explore the mountains and deserts of Sinai and the oases of the Western desert, diving in the Red Sea and hotels, spas and resorts in Sharm El Sheikh, Hurgada and other Egyptian cities, while enjoying Egyptian nights with amazing folk dancing and Arabic music.
Egypt and Viet Nam have a history of friendship and co-operation. The two countries established diplomatic relations more than 50 years ago, and this past year has witnessed important developments characterised by meetings between leaders of the two countries. This included a meeting between His Excellency President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and His Excellency President Truong Tan Sang in Moscow last May while attending the 70th anniversary of the Victory Day.
Similar meetings took place between Egypt's Prime Minister, His Excellency Ibrahim Mahlab, and His Excellency the Vietnamese President in Jakarta, April 2015 on the sidelines of the African-Asian Summit. Mr Mahlab also met with Her Excellency Nguyen Thi Doan, Vice President of Viet Nam in Dakar in November 2014 while participating in the 15th Francophone Summit. These meetings reflect the willingness of the two countries to enhance their bilateral co-operation in all areas.
Last May, Cairo hosted the 8th round of political consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Egypt and Viet Nam at the vice-ministerial level. The two countries will continue to co-operate, co-ordinate and exchange support at different international organi-sations.
On an economic level, the trade volume between Egypt and Viet Nam has witnessed an increase of more than 70 per cent to reach $400 million in 2014 compared to 230 million in 2013. We are working together to develop our trade and investment relations targeting the fields of telecommunication, energy, oil and gas, fisheries, agriculture, tourism, education and healthcare.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my best wishes for the success and prosperity of both the Vietnamese and Egyptian peoples. — VNS