Egypt is reengaging with the African Continent, after decades of ignoring, said The Economist.
In its report, the magazine cited words by late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, who said that there are three characteristics which define Egypt.
The country is Arab and Muslim, to be sure. But the third feature, Nasser implied, is not as well recognized, added the magazine.
Nasser embraced Africa, fostering leaders who sought to emulate his Egyptian revolution.
More recently, though, Egypt has withdrawn from the continent. The relationship turned sour when Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s then president, came under an assassination attempt in Ethiopia in 1995.
For the next 16 years Mubarak shunned African summits. When he was finally booted out of office in 2011, the country’s Africa policy involved little more than quarreling over water. But after years of upheaval, Egypt is beginning to reengage with the continent.
Egypt boasts the most powerful army and third-largest economy in Africa, where it has much to gain, starting with business, said the magazine.
To get a sense of how much Egypt has withdrawn from Africa, consider that its trade on the continent accounts for less than 3% of its total, according to Vinaye Ancharaz of the Swiss-based International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development.
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El Sisi is focused on attracting investment, but his embrace of the continent has been well received by business.
The investment conference in the resort city of Sharm el Sheikh is featuring ten African heads of state
In May 26 African countries, including Egypt, are expected to launch a new free-trade area in Cairo.