Egypt seeks partnership in agric sector

The Arab Republic of Egypt says it is ready for partnerships with Zimbabwe in the agricultural sector as a way of ensuring food security in both countries.

Egypt’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bassem Khalil.
Egypt’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bassem Khalil.

In a recent interview Egypt’s Ambassador, Bassem Khalil, said Zimbabwe had already responded with a proposal that is currently being looked into by his government.

“We are looking at the possibility of having a joint project in the field of agriculture and our proposal is to cultivate 10,000 hectares using Egyptian expertise and Egyptian machinery. We are looking at cultivating wheat and maize and sharing the harvest between the two countries in order to achieve food security,” he said.

“The Ministry of Agriculture in Zimbabwe has already designed a proposal and we have sent this to Egypt and we are waiting for our government’s opinion.”

Egypt is also looking into the possibility of importing tobacco from Zimbabwe. Besides agriculture, Egypt is looking at other economic areas of cooperation as the level of trade between the two countries did not match the capabilities of either country. “We are both members of COMESA, which allows exports and imports without tariffs. We are trying to promote the export of Egyptian products into Zimbabwe and vice versa. At the moment, we have succeeded in getting private companies together and local companies are importing more food products from Egypt. We are also trying to promote Egyptian exports of ceramics and other items like machinery and textiles,” said Khalil.

Khalil implored the Zimbabwean government to prioritise investor friendly policies as a way of boosting economic recovery in the country. “We hope that the Zimbabwean government will give incentives for investment because some investors are not very much attracted by the fact that to invest here you have to give up 51 percent. Another problem that needs to be solved is the issues of energy because before invests come, they look at those issues as well,” said Khalil.

He said that Egypt was planning to sign bilateral agreements with Zimbabwe to promote the tourism sector. “Egypt has the pyramids and Zimbabwe has the Victoria Falls. We would like to make sure that visitors come to these areas using our direct flight,” said Khalil.

A delegation from his country’s Ministry of Tourism will be part of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair set to take place next month. Khalil said this was part of Egypt’s efforts to bring together Zimbabwean and Egyptian businesses. He expressed his country’s commitment to assisting Zimbabwe in various sectors through the Egyptian Fund for Technical Cooperation in Africa.

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