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Azerbaijani & Egyptian leaders foster bilateral ties, paving way for economic cooperation [COMMENTARY]

12 June 2024 [08:30] - TODAY.AZ
By Azernews

Ulviyya Shahin

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev embarked on an official trip to Egypt on June 8, where he held discussions with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi aimed at bolstering bilateral ties and enhancing collaboration in various areas of shared interest. This visit underscores the ongoing dedication of both nations to fortify their partnership and advance developmental endeavors through close coordination. Talks centered on elevating the scope and depth of cooperation, fostering political dialogue, and nurturing economic, trade, and cultural bonds.

President Al-Sisi's visit to Azerbaijan in January 2023 marked a significant milestone in bilateral relations, marking the first visit by an Egyptian President. This visit yielded the signing of three pivotal agreements covering irrigation, cultural exchange, and trade.

"We have reached a mutual understanding on the trajectory of our cooperation – one that should be deepened and broadened. The potential for this is evident, and today's visit reaffirms this commitment," stated President Aliyev at the time.

President Al-Sisi emphasized the importance of eliminating hurdles for foreign investors in Egypt, advocating for conducive environments and streamlined legal procedures. Highlighting Egypt's role as a "gateway to Africa," he underscored the pivotal nature of free trade accords between the two nations.

Since the establishment of the Joint Commission on intergovernmental economic, technical, and scientific cooperation in October 2002, Azerbaijan and Egypt have signed approximately 60 agreements, with an additional 21 under consideration. Presently, around 51 companies with Egyptian investment operate in trade, industry, and services in Azerbaijan, indicative of substantial potential for expanding commercial ties. By the close of 2023, bilateral trade turnover had reached $15.1 million.

The energy sector stands as another pillar of Azerbaijani-Egyptian collaboration, with further expansion anticipated as SOCAR and Egypt's state oil company plan to augment their partnership. Tourism represents a burgeoning sector, with Egyptian tourist arrivals in Azerbaijan witnessing a 50 percent surge in recent years. Sustained by regular flights, including weekly Air Cairo services between Baku and Sharm el Sheikh, this sector enjoys robust support. Last year, both nations expressed keenness to enhance air connectivity, deliberating on mutual cooperation in civil aviation.

Politically, Azerbaijan and Egypt collaborate in international forums such as the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Speaking to Azernews Haiat Hussin an Egyptian economic writer said that the mutual economic relation is weak comparing the political relation, which affects the volume of trade exchange, and does not exceed $10 million.

"But the two countries are trying to support this relation, and Companies from Azerbaijan are looking to invest in Egypt in many fields, including infrastructure and the pharmaceutical industry, said Alkhan Polokhov, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Egypt to me 6 months ago."

He added that Egypt and Azerbaijan are discussing ways to revive economic cooperation.

He expected that the sixth session of the meetings of the Egyptian-Azerbaijani Joint Committee for Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation would held (2024). The Azerbaijani ambassador said: “The Fifth Committee was held in Baku in 2022, and the next committee will be held in 2024, and it comes within the framework of strengthening economic cooperation.

The economist added that five cooperation documents were signed in various fields of development, to expand the scope of economic, scientific, and technical cooperation between the two countries during the meetings of the Fifth Committee.

"Two countries agreed to operate a flight between Baku (the capital of Azerbaijan) and Cairo, through EgyptAir, starting this year. There is currently a weekly direct flight between Baku and Sharm El-Sheikh," H. Hussin concluded.


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