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Azerbaijani and Egyptian Leaders Foster Bilateral Ties, Paving Way for Economic Cooperation

In a bid to enhance bilateral ties and foster economic cooperation, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev embarked on an official visit to Egypt, where he held significant discussions with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. The high-level meeting underscored both nations’ commitment to strengthening their partnership and advancing developmental endeavors through close coordination held on 8th June 2024.

The leaders’ talks focused on expanding the scope and depth of their collaboration, nurturing political dialogue, and bolstering economic, trade, and cultural bonds. This visit follows President Al-Sisi’s historic trip to Azerbaijan in January 2023, marking the first visit by an Egyptian President and resulting in three pivotal agreements on 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,” President Aliyev emphasized.

Investing in Economic Growth

President Al-Sisi highlighted the importance of creating a favorable environment for foreign investors in Egypt by streamlining legal procedures and eliminating hurdles. He underscored Egypt’s role as a “gateway to Africa” and stressed the significance of free trade accords between the two nations. Since 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. Currently, around 51 Egyptian-invested companies operate in Azerbaijan’s trade, industry, and service sectors, showcasing substantial potential for expanding commercial ties. By the end of 2023, bilateral trade turnover had reached $15.1 million.

Energy and Tourism

The energy sector remains a cornerstone of Azerbaijani-Egyptian collaboration, with further expansion anticipated as SOCAR and Egypt’s state oil company plan to deepen their partnership. Tourism is another burgeoning sector, with Egyptian tourist arrivals in Azerbaijan witnessing a 50 percent surge in recent years. Regular flights, including weekly Air Cairo services between Baku and Sharm el Sheikh, bolster this growth. Last year, both nations expressed to enhance air connectivity and discussed cooperation in civil aviation.

Political and Economic Dialogues

Azerbaijan and Egypt also collaborate in international forums such as the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Speaking to Azernews, Egyptian economic writer Haiat Hussin noted that the mutual economic relationship is currently weaker than the political relationship, affecting trade volume, which does not exceed $10 million.

“However, the two countries are working to support this relationship. Companies from Azerbaijan are looking to invest in Egypt in many fields, including infrastructure and the pharmaceutical industry,” stated Alkhan Polokhov, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Egypt. He added that discussions are ongoing to revive economic cooperation, with the sixth session of the Egyptian-Azerbaijani Joint Committee for Economic, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation scheduled for 2024. The fifth session, held in Baku in 2022, resulted in five cooperation documents being signed in various development fields.

Looking ahead, both nations are poised to enhance their bilateral ties further. Plans to operate a flight between Baku and Cairo through EgyptAir, complementing the existing weekly direct flight between Baku and Sharm El-Sheikh, are set to materialize this year, reflecting their commitment to bolstering economic and cultural exchanges. As President Aliyev and President Al-Sisi continue to forge a path of cooperation and growth, the future looks promising for Azerbaijani-Egyptian relations, with both nations eager to unlock the full potential of their partnership.