Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is currently on a State visit to Vietnam from September 6-7 at the invitation of Vietnamese State President Tran Dai Quang.

Although Vietnam and Egypt have traditionally enjoyed a good relationship, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is the first Egyptian president who has ever visited Vietnam since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1963.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

Thus, this visit bears historic significance in the history of the Vietnam-Egypt relationship and also demonstrates Egypt’s desire to deepen its relations with Vietnam.

The visit is also seen as a good opportunity for the two sides to discuss issues of mutual concern and to seek effective approaches to expanding the bilateral cooperation in various fields, particularly economics, trade, investment, culture and tourism.

Egypt is a large and influencing country in North Africa. It has an important geostrategic position as it links Africa and Asia.

Regarding its position in the region and the world as a whole, Egypt contributes a relatively large amount to the operational budget of the African Union (AU) and this year represents the Africa-Arab group as a non-permanent member at the UN Security Council in the 2016-17 term. What is more, Egypt plays a major role in the Middle-East peace process as well as the settlement processes of the Libya crisis and Darfur conflict.

President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi took office in 2014. Since then, under his leadership, the Egyptian Government has pursued the “Look East” policy, with priorities given to its relations with Asian countries, including Vietnam. In September 2016, Egypt officially joined the ASEAN-founded Treaty for Amity and Cooperation (TAC).

In Africa, Egypt is the second largest in terms of economy and population, and one of the leading regional countries in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). The country’s major economic sectors include tourism, oil industry, garment and textile, agricultural processing industry, chemistry and construction.

President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi’s Government has continued economic reforms for several years. Together with financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), initial fruitful results of these economic reforms have brought the country stable economic development. This year, Egyptian economic growth rate is forecast at 5%. 

Vietnam and Egypt have enjoyed traditional friendly and comprehensive relations. The two countries frequently support each other at international forums. Especially, Vietnam received full support from Egyptian authorities in evacuating Vietnamese citizens from riots and conflicts in Libya in 2011 and 2014. The two sides also shared their views at UN forums.

Regarding trade and economic ties, Egypt is Vietnam’s second largest trade partner in Africa. The two-way trade reached USD 316 million in 2016. Major Vietnamese exports to Egypt include seafood, automobile spare-parts, fiber and cloth, black pepper, coffee, rubber and consumer goods while Egypt’s main exports to Vietnam are chemicals, oil products, milk and dairy products.

Egypt has two projects valued at USD 750,000 in the Vietnamese provinces of Tay Ninh and Khanh Hoa.

The two countries signed a number of deals on trade, economics, technical assistance and aviation cooperation, and set up a Vietnam-Egypt Joint Business Council in July 2009.

However, the bilateral investment, trade and economic ties between the two countries have still been so modest in comparison to their potentials.

Remarkably, Egypt was the first country in North Africa to recognize Vietnam as a market economy.

Every year, Egypt offers 12 scholarships to Vietnamese students studying Arabic in the country.

Although Vietnam and Egypt have not often exchanged visits of senior leaders, ministerial- and local-level authorities of the two sides have actively boosted bilateral cooperation.

Warmly welcoming Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to Vietnam, the Vietnamese people believe that the visit has opened a new chapter in the Vietnam-Egypt relationship.

Written by Editorial Board

Translated by Thu Nguyen