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Switzerland’s Head of Economic Cooperation, Development at SECO to visit Cairo

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Raymund Furrer

CAIRO,7 October 2019: To celebrate 40 years of Swiss-Egyptian development cooperation, Ambassador Raymund Furrer, Head of Economic Cooperation and Development at the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), will visit Cairo from 7-11 October to meet with Egyptian officials, visit the sites of Swiss development projects in Egypt, and discuss continued cooperation in the future.

Ambassador Furrer will inform key government stakeholders about the strategic priorities of SECO as well as the opportunities and challenges of the SECO portfolio in Egypt.

Alongside his meetings with top officials, he will also visit El Sewedy Technical Academy, where a project co-financed by Switzerland and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is being implemented to enhance employability and job market access of young women and men in Egypt. Ambassador Furrer will moreover attend a high-level panel discussion on trends, perspectives and solutions related to urban inequalities in Egypt, to be held at the premises of the Swiss Embassy.

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“We can achieve positive and tangible results together with the Government of Egypt and our project partners that make a difference to the lives of many ordinary Egyptians,” said Ambassador Furrer.

Forty years ago, in 1979, Switzerland and Egypt concluded a partnership to stimulate economic cooperation and investments, and bring support to the most vulnerable people among the Egyptian population. Projects at the time focused on infrastructure. Today, Switzerland’s development projects in Egypt have expanded greatly to include diverse activities in the fields of democratic processes and human rights, inclusive sustainable economic growth and employment, and migration and protection. Switzerland supports Egypt’s comprehensive reform agenda as set out in its 2030 Egypt Vision.

Ambassador Furrer will also address the guests of the Swiss National Day reception at the residence of Swiss Ambassador to Egypt Paul Garnier on October 9 around the landmark 40-year celebration of Swiss-Egyptian development cooperation. Throughout this 40-year timeframe some 700 million Swiss francs have been invested in more than 200 projects across Egypt to boost infrastructure, develop the private sector, and empower civil society, among other initiatives. Some of the highlights of Switzerland’s development programme successes in Egypt include provision of reliable radiology services that have benefitted 1.8 million patients and provision of support to three microfinance institutions with 450,000 clients and an outstanding portfolio of 110 million Swiss francs.

Ambassador Furrer has been Head of SECO’s Economic Cooperation and Development division since 1 October 2015. He is also Delegate of the Swiss Federal Council for Trade Agreements. SECO’s focus areas for Egypt for the 2017-2020 period include infrastructure financing, private sector investments, trade promotion and macro-economic support. The last bilateral official visit of Ambassador Furrer to Cairo was in May 2018.

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Economy

Egypt, PRL sign train engines contracts worth $466.3M

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CAIRO – 16 November 2019: The Egyptian Railway Authority (ERA) signed with PRL (Progress Rail Automotives) a number of contracts worth $466.3 million after a meeting with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi that took place last week.

The American company will supply 50 train engines over 22 months, carry out long-term maintenance for 41 engines by June 30, and upgrade 50 others within 30 months since the conclusion of the deal. The company will also provide maintenance services and spare parts for those 141 train engines for 15 years. The value of contracts will be secured through soft loans, except for $27 million that will be paid by ERA’s treasury.

In July, ERA endorsed the technical specifications of two passenger railcars to be supplied by Transmashholding in September. Those are part of a contract to supply 1,300 railcars. One of the railcars will be tested in Hungary, so it will be granted the safety certification by the European Railway Agency. The other will be tested in Egypt. Afterwards, the first batch of railcars in the contract will be delivered in accordance with the timeline set by both parties.

The contract states that 650 railcars will be supplied from Hungary, 500 will be delivered by Russia, and 150 will be manufactured by Egypt under the supervision of Transmashholding. An Egyptian locomotive factory will be established as part of a plan to localize the locomotive industry in Egypt and transfer the know-how to workers, technicians, and engineers in the sector. The factory will produce the 150 railcars and also provide maintenance services.

The representatives of ERA and Transmashholding agreed to hold further visits and meetings to study the possibility of cooperation in rail infrastructure, mobile rail, workshops, new lines, and maintenance of existing railcars.

In the same month, an official source told Egypt Today that ERA needs 12 rail test machines to detect and repair defects in railroads revealing that contracts to purchase eight of those are being finalized.

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ERA will receive four rail test machines worth €8.5 million by the end of 2020 supplied by an Austrian company with which a contract was signed a few months ago. The machines will enable the authority to better diagnose defects in the railroads which would increase the safety, and inhibit derailment accidents.

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Economy

France-Africa Summit secretary general praises Egypt’s experience in infrastructure

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Investment Minister Sahar Nasr meets with Secretary General of France-Africa Summit 2020 Stephanie Rivoal Reminisces- press photo

CAIRO – 8 November 2019: Ambassador Stephanie Rivoal Reminisces, the Secretary General of France-Africa Summit 2020, has hailed Egypt’s experience in the infrastructure field mainly with regard to the the sustainable and smart cities as well as digitization which she said offers investment opportunities to the private sector.

During her meeting with Investment Minister Sahar Nasr, the French diplomat added that France prioritizes consolidating strategic relations with the African countries, topped by Egypt, the current president of the African Union.

The meeting is held on Friday as part of Reminisces’s current visit to Egypt to hold talks with the government on preparations for the anticipated summit, slated for June, 2020. This year’s summit will focus on the sustainable cities.

Several heads of state and government will address the summit and meetings among businessmen from all over the African continents will be held as part of the summit’s activities, Reminisces said.

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About 1,000 investors representing major, small and medium sized- businesses have been invited to the summit, Reminisces added.

Meanwhile, Nasr asserted Egypt’s keenness on developing cooperation with France at economic, development and investment levels.

She hailed successes achieved through the French investments in Egypt which she said hit 5.2 billion dollars with 160 French companies operating in the country.

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Economy

Egypt urges World Bank, IMF to support regional integrity in Africa

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CAIRO – 18 October 2019: Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr called on the World Bank and IMF to boost their support to Egypt in achieving regional integrity and intra-trade in Africa, a press release on Friday read.

Addressing the Intergovernmental Group of 24 on International Monetary Affairs and Development in Washington, Nasr called on the WB and International Monetary Fund to expand investments in the region.

The minister said that Egypt’s vision to face the slowdown in global economic growth and trade tensions is to achieve more economic integration and continue to take the path of reform to make our economies more competitive and attractive for investment, to achieve the aspirations of the world countries in growth and development.

Nasr explained that the Egyptian government has implemented a comprehensive economic and social reform program to promote sustainable growth, alleviate poverty, create good jobs, enable the private sector to promote growth, and provide opportunities for all sectors of society to participate in the economy, especially women and young entrepreneurs.

The Minister added that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, as the chairman of the African Union, has set the achievement of regional economic integration as a top priority.

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Nasr also discussed Wednesday with the World Bank the provision of $500 million for the pollution control and solid waste management project in Egypt.

Nasr added in a statement that Egypt is also discussing with the World Bank raising the level of partnership to support the health and education sectors in Egypt.

For his part, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa Farid Belhadj affirmed that Egypt is a very important country for the bank’s fields of work.

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“Therefore the World Bank is keen to contribute effectively to the efforts exerted to achieve development in Egypt, especially in the field of infrastructure, in light of the economic and legislative reform that contributed to improving the investment climate in Egypt,”Belhadj explained.

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