The Egyptian Water Puppet troupe performing in Hà Nội to celebrate the 55th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Egypt and Việt Nam. — Photo courtesy of the Embassy
On the occasion of the 67th anniversary of the July 23 Revolution in 1952 which established the republican system of government in Egypt for the first time in its long political history, Ambassador of Egypt to Việt Nam Mahmoud Nayel sends a message to Việt Nam News readers.
The July 23 Revolution’s influence has extended far beyond the Egyptian borders to bring about many changes in Egypt’s regional and international role. The new Egyptian Republic at that time embarked upon a new policy prioritising cooperation with other nations struggling for independence from colonialism, working towards a more just and fair international order, striving to achieve unity among developing nations in their pursuit of prosperity and modernity for its peoples. This was clearly manifested in Egypt being one of the central founding fathers of such important movements such as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and organisations such as the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which is today the African Union (AU).
It is in this spirit that the diplomatic relations between Egypt and Việt Nam were established 56 years ago. During those years, the two countries have enjoyed friendly and cordial relations built on a solid foundation of mutual understanding and respect for each nations’ conditions and priorities, and the sincere desire to work together in all fields with a view to enhancing bilateral trade and people to people understanding. Political coordination between both countries at different international forums and organisations has contributed greatly to bringing our shared priorities to global attention.
The culmination of the friendship between Egypt and Việt Nam was manifested in the historical visit of President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to Việt Nam in September 2017, which was followed by the visit of the late President Trần Đại Quang to Egypt in August 2018. These visits contributed further momentum to bilateral relations particularly in the fields of trade and industry. The volume of trade reached approximately US$475 million in 2018, increasing about 25% compared to 2017. Although it doesn’t reflect the two nations’ potentials, it represents a solid foundation to build upon and reach the targeted $1 billion bilateral trade volume in the next few years.
People to people relations continue to thrive as Egypt and Việt Nam recently celebrated the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations by hosting the Egyptian National water puppets troupe, which presented a unique performance of the sacred Vietnamese art in the heart of Hà Nội, reflecting the depth of the cultural relations between the two nations and their remarkable contributions to the human civilisation. This came only a few months after Việt Nam participated in the World Youth Forum 2018 in Egypt to further enhance the ties between the young generations of the two friendly nations.
In the international arena, Egypt was one of the first countries to officially declare its support for Việt Nam’s candidacy to the non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for the term 2020-2021 in the joint declaration issued by the two presidents in September 2017. The Egyptian support emanated from the faith we always place in Việt Nam as a responsible member of the international community and its ability, willingness, and commitment to uphold the UN charter and international law, and play an effective role toward the realisation of international peace and stability.
Today, Egypt is facing new challenges with new policies. An ambitious economic reform programme, adopted by the Egyptian government four years ago, has started to yield its outcome, with notable macroeconomic stability and economic growth rate reaching 5.6% in 2019 to rank the 3rd fastest growing economy on the Economist’s list “The fastest growers and biggest shrinkers of 2019”. Modernisation of monetary policies helped reduce inflation from 33% in 2017 to 9.4% in June in 2019, while unemployment dropped by 2.5% over the last year. The tourism sector continues to regain its strength as a leading economic sector with the flow of foreign tourists reaching about 10 million in 2018, and we believe that Egypt and Việt Nam have a lot of experience to share, and opportunities to seize in this field.
This year, Egypt assumed the chairmanship of the African union, and one of the main objectives of the Egyptian presidency was to conclude the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). I am pleased that this target for the Egyptian presidency was achieved in July 2019 in the AU extraordinary Niamey summit. This agreement allows all partners of Africa, and especially Việt Nam, great incentive to invest in Africa and enjoy the opportunities of a continental market of over a billion consumers.
In addition, Egypt adopted an extensive investment plan including opportunities in various areas such as industrial and technology zones and in mega-projects such as the economic zone of the Suez Canal (SCZ), the New Administrative Capital, Galala city, New El-Alamein city, the Million-and-a-half Acres Project and the Grand Egyptian Museum, in addition to SMEs.
Egypt and Việt Nam are facing similar developmental challenges to achieve prosperity for their peoples, and it will greatly benefit both friendly countries to always share their experience and enhance their bilateral ties, and further expand their coordination in multilateral organisations to promote values of peace, equality, and openness in the international system. Việt Nam has always been a model for countries seeking national construction based on self-reliance and respect for sovereignty of all countries, as presented by its long history of struggle for unity and independence.
The undeniable socioeconomic achievements of Việt Nam over the last years, and its rising role as a regional and international player, show how far a nation under wise leadership can reach without compromising its core values. This, once again, opens a horizon full of opportunities for both Egypt and Việt Nam to explore their true potentials especially in fields of economic and trade cooperation, investment, political coordination, education and cultural exchange. — VNS