His Excellency Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Egypt in Ukraine, Dr. Hossam Eldeen M. Aly, shared with “Image.UA” his views on the perspectives of bilateral cooperation between our nations
– Mr. Ambassador, it would be interesting, at the outset, to learn about the general particularities of economic cooperation between Egypt and Ukraine?
– Economic ties between Ukraine and Egypt are strong and in constant growth. For example, the trade turnover between the countries reached USD 2,3 billion in 2016. The biggest chunck of this figure are Egyptian imports from Ukraine, while Egyptian exports to Ukraine represent a much smaller figure. However, serious efforts are currently being exerted to present a wide range of high-quality, competitively priced Egyptian commodities to potential Ukrainian importers, with a view to increase such exports to Ukraine in the future.
In advancement of economic cooperation, the Egyptian-Ukrainian business forum was convened, late last year, at the premises of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ukraine, with the participation of 25 Egyptian businessmen representing various companies. Many other efforts are underway to advance business to business interaction and exchanges on both sides.
– Which Ukrainian goods are of main interest for Egypt?
– Egyptian companies are interested in high quality and competitively priced of products in a diverse range of trade sectors. We are also working on advancing experiences of joint ventures, providing for modern production technology transfer and enhancing exchange of experiences and successful practices in the factories of various products.
– How can Ukrainian companies get to Egyptian market?
– In Egypt we have a Governmental focal Trade Representative, Associations of Businessmen, producers and a wide range of specialized producers and trade communities. The Embassy in Kyiv also acts as a focal point on commercial offers and forwards those to the concerned authorities in Cairo regularly. We also register them at the special data base, which enables the establishment of direct contacts between Ukrainian and Egyptian representatives later on.
– Which Egyptian goods are in the biggest demand in Ukraine?
– Egypt has a lot to offer for Ukraine. That are, first of all, agrarian products, including raw and processed fruits and vegetables. We also manufacture very high quality textile. And, of course, we also have interest in the IT sphere, especially seeking joint projects for experience sharing.
Many Egyptian businessmen come to Ukraine seeking to establish joint enterprises in Egypt. As you can see, Egypt currently performs difficult but necessary economic reforms, including also the reformation of the industry sector. In the direct aftermath of the revolution of 2011, many factories were closed. Today we are keen on reopening these enterprises and to modernize them in the process, so that they can also advance our export capacity on the world market.
– Egypt – is oasis of world tourism. How active are Ukrainians with touristic trips to your country?
– The importance of Ukraine in the sphere of tourism is very clear. Our country welcomes Ukrainians through various times of the year. Last year, around 450 thousand Ukrainian citizens visited Egypt for tourism. They mostly visit Sharm el Sheikh, Hurghada and nearby resorts and historical sites. We cooperate with Ukrainian companies to increase this number and encourage Ukrainians to visit more touristic sites in various other parts of Egypt too. For the last years Ukraine became a key partner, as Ukrainian tourists replace tourists from such countries as Russia and Great Britain, which previously represented the leading numbers visiting Sharm El Sheikh and Hurgada.
Ukrainians are very objective in their perception of Egypt as the safe place. They realize that the risk of terrorist attacks, is similar to that in many other world locations that are traditionally safe, including in the heart of Europe. We work hard on providing the highest level of safety and security to tourists and constantly improve the quality of our resorts and touristic services. We also promote tourism in an ever-growing number of locations across the country, including Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Marsa Alam and the Mediterranean North Coast.
– What would you like to wish for Ukrainians? What do you think we lack of?
– We wish the friendly people and Government of Ukraine prosperity and stability. However, only Ukrainians can decide what they think they lack
I noticed that people in Ukraine are generally well educated, professional, and ambitious, thus I am sure that they will secure a bright future for your country.
I also hope that the friendly relations between our countries will develop steadily. Very important step in this direction is the resumption of direct air flights between Kyiv and Cairo, which will help to boost and deepen cooperation between our countries in a wide range of spheres, including education, culture, trade and tourism.