CAIRO, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Egypt seeks to promote its presence in Africa by carrying out large projects to maintain its national security and economic interests, according to Egyptian experts.
"Egypt has been implementing mega projects in some African countries for the first time recently," said Mokhtar Gobashy, vice-president of the Cairo-based Arab Center for Political Studies.
Egypt has neglected the cooperation with African countries for decades while many other regional and international forces like Turkey, Russia, France and Germany have been active in many African markets, Gobashy told Xinhua.
Undoubtedly, Africa is a very fertile environment that lures many investments especially in fields of economy and substructure, and also constitutes a marketing bloc for Egypt at the regional and international levels, he added.
In Tanzania, Egypt has started in September the construction of the country's awaited Julius Nyerere Hydropower Dam with high quality in order to reflect the ability of the Egyptian contracting sector to implement huge projects.
The 2.9-billion-U.S. dollars project implemented by two Egyptian companies comprises a main dam with a concrete body and four other saddle dams to form a reservoir with a capacity of approximately 34 billion cubic meters of water, in addition to a hydropower station.
The project aims at generating 6,307 megawatt-hours per year to fulfill the needs of some 17 million Tanzanian families.
In Ghana, EgyptAir, the national flag carrier, has signed in October a memo of understanding for establishing a Ghanaian national airliner with joint investments.
Egypt and Sudan's electricity grids were officially linked in April at a voltage of 220 KV. Egypt's cabinet said that the operated first phase linkage aims to provide Sudan with a capacity of up to 70 megawatts per hour, while the second phase of the linkage would target up to 300 megawatts likewise the Egyptian-Libyan linkage.
Meanwhile, Egypt has signed recently a cooperation deal with Sudan in the railway sector for extending a link to bridge Upper Egypt's city of Aswan and Sudanese Wadi Halfa.
The Egyptian government said on November 3 that it studies founding a linking road with Chad via Sudan to work as a gate for trade between the three countries and the countries of western Africa.
Gobashy reiterated that increasing the Egyptian presence in Africa preserves its national security, arguing that Egypt has politically harmed due to its absence at the African scene during the time of the late President Hosni Mubarak.
Hany Raslan, an expert in African affairs and advisor with state-run Ahram center for political and strategic studies, agrees that such projects activate the Egyptian role in the African collective work.
He explained that Egypt is walking in parallel lines in boosting mutual ties with most of the African countries via carrying out large projects and taking part in many events under the umbrella of the African Union, adding that Egypt has been also active in the field of peacekeeping forces in Africa.
With the ongoing momentum, Raslan expected more projects will be launched in Africa, deeming that Egypt is a central player among the Nile Basin countries, and it needs to protect its economic profits through partnerships.
"Boosting the cooperation with Africa countries is a strategic choice for Egypt," he added.
Most of the joint projects, especially the substructure ones, have been stopped since 1995-2014, the period that witnessed the attempted assassination of Mubarak in Addis Ababa and the two uprisings of 2011, 2013, he added.
In 2019, Egypt launched 32 projects in Africa and organized more than 1,500 training activities for African youth and professionals, including the establishment of fisheries and cattle farms in Algeria, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Uganda, according to a report released by Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture.
In September of 2019, Egypt launched an initiative to screen 1 million Africans for hepatitis C and provide treatment for patients starting with South Africa. Enditem