Egyptian Ambassador to Addis Ababa Abu Bakr Hefny said on Tuesday that Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia are furthering collaboration, especially at an economic level, given the Cairo-Cape Town road crossing that will soon be established through the three states.
In a statement, Hefny stressed Sisi’s vision to connect Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan. He also noted that a fund will be established to finance infrastructure projects between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia as discussed at the Sharm El Sheikh tripartite summit in 2015, adding that it will be activated within the upcoming period.
The navigational line connecting Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean Sea through the Nile River will be constructed alongside the road, in reference to strategic Egyptian-Ethiopian relations.
He stated that the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has agreed with a Belgian expert to supervise the project.
Egyptian company Elsewedy has proposed establishing an Egyptian industrial zone in Addis Ababa worth $120 million in investments, along with a wind-powered electric station. The project is very important, Hefny stressed, as it will attract many Egyptian businessmen in different fields, including medicine, agricultural manufacturing and construction of animal farms, during the upcoming period.
In this regard, he said that an Egyptian delegation will visit Ethiopia during the upcoming period to discuss many investments in medicine in light of the good reputation Egyptian medicine hold in Addis Ababa, explaining that consultations are ongoing to construct an Egyptian hospital in Ethiopia.
Hefny pointed out that Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn met with Egyptian businessmen during his last visit to Cairo and adopted the project to establish an industrial zone, stressing that he will work on this project in the upcoming period.
He explained that Egypt and Ethiopia signed an agreement in 2014 to establish an Egyptian farm in Ethiopia. The agreement was agreed to be activated in 2018, as the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture will pay a visit to Ethiopia in February to implement the project.
In this regard, he said that Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn called Egyptian businessmen to activate the common business council during the coming period.
“In the coming period, Egyptian fertilizers will be exported to Ethiopia, as the proportion of intraregional trade currently does not exceed $170 million and Egyptian investments in Ethiopia reach $750 million,” said Hefny, noting that most of these investments belong to Elsewedy Electric Company.
As for the inception report, he explained that the dispute on this report is on some technical issues, which he confirmed the leaders of the three states will resolve within a month.
Hefny noted that Egyptian-Ethiopian relations have faced some misunderstandings, especially after Ethiopia accused Egypt of its attempt to destabilize Ethiopia, and he praised the efforts by Sisi and the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to resolve the misunderstanding.
“Ethiopia has the right to achieve development for its people but without causing harm to other countries,” he said.
He praised the role of the Coptic Church and the Egyptian Agency of Partnership of Development to promote Egyptian-Ethiopian relations.
Regarding Egypt’s vision for structural reform of the African Union, Hefny referenced Sisi’s statement during the opening session of the African Union summit that AU countries should bear the burdens together.
A tripartite summit between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on a presidential level convened on Monday on the sidelines of the African Union’s 30th summit in Addis Ababa.
President Sisi, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn discussed the controversial issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) at Sisi’s presidential residence in Addis Ababa.
The tripartite summit convened to discuss means of furthering cooperation between the three countries, continuing intensive consultation and coordination on various subjects of common interest. The three parties also agreed to activate the joint investment fund between the three countries to finance infrastructure projects, according to a statement from presidential spokesperson Bassam Rady.
Additionally, the tripartite summit reviewed the latest developments to the current negotiations of the National Tripartite Commission on GERD with transparency and discussed means of overcoming its hurdles.
The three countries affirmed an agreement on a single vision based on the Declaration of Principles signed in Khartoum, raising the no-harm principle of the three countries’ interests.
They agreed to hold a joint meeting between the ministers of irrigation and foreign affairs of the three countries and the National Tripartite Commission, then raise final reports within a month that include a solution to all pending technical issues. They also agreed to exchange technical information and studies between the three countries.