Despite these constraints and fierce competition from traditional Egyptian partners, South African companies have successfully demonstrated their competitive advantage in producing high-quality industrial, chemical and agricultural products for the prosperous segment of the population. The Egyptian government is working to expand trade and investment with SA. A free trade agreement is being negotiated and would support bilateral trade and investment. Bilateral political and economic relations between Egypt and South Africa have improved considerably since 1993. These improvements were highlighted in April 1996 with the convening of the Commission`s first joint bilateral meeting in Cairo. In addition, Egypt has signed several bilateral agreements with Arab countries: Jordan (December 1999), Lebanon (March 1999), Libya (January 1991), Morocco (April 1999), Syria (December 1991) and Tunisia (March 1999). In addition, Egypt and China entered into a trade agreement in 1995. Egypt has also signed an economic treaty with Russia. In June 2001, Egypt signed an Association Agreement with the European Union (EU), which came into force on 1 June 2004. The agreement provided for immediate duty-free access of Egyptian products to EU markets, while duty-free access for EU products was phased in over a 12-year period. In 2010, Egypt and the EU concluded an agricultural annex to their free trade agreement and liberalized trade in more than 90% of agricultural goods. “We have had in-depth and fruitful discussions on all bilateral relations… We agreed to improve trade relations between the two countries and find ways to promote economic and investment relations between Egypt and the Republic of South Africa,” Sisi said at a televised press conference after his meeting with Ramaphosa in Cairo.
Closer cooperation between the largest economies in North and Southern Africa is one of the most practical ways to strengthen economic development and ultimately fight poverty for the continent. Official contacts between the two governments were only reactivated to a limited extent in 1988. In June 1988, the Egyptian government proposed to Cairo to participate in the joint meeting of the Commission between South Africa, Angola, Cuba, the United States and the Soviet Union. During the meeting, the first contacts took place between the then South African foreign minister, then Egypt`s foreign minister. Economic relations between Egypt and South Africa have improved steadily since the establishment of official diplomatic relations in 1994, with trade relations having been very strong in recent years. For more information on trade statistics between South Africa and Egypt, visit the website of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Competition in South Africa. It is also the only country in this region from which there is a direct flight to South Africa via the Egyptian national airline Egypt Air, which has a codeshare agreement with South African Airways. In 1960, a group of seven representatives of the various South African “liberation” movements went to Cairo to seek Egypt`s support for the “fight” in South Africa. The visit marks the beginning of the end of official relations between South Africa and Egypt, as well as the beginning of the Egyptian government`s long-running support for South African “liberation movements”. On 30 May 1960, relations between the Egyptian and South African governments were officially severed.
The official visit will be an opportunity for President Ramaphosa to discuss with President Fatah El-Sisi the strengthening and deepening of good bilateral political and economic relations between South Africa and Egypt.