The President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, on Wednesday offered Egypt a greater presence of Spanish companies to contribute to the development plans that he believes are allowing the country to make great progress.
Sánchez made this offer before the Spanish-Egyptian business forum organised on the occasion of his official visit to Cairo, during which he is holding a meeting with the country's President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and the Prime Minister, Mustafa Madbuli.
Madbuli also accompanied the President of the Government at the business forum, who highlighted the bilateral collaboration in all areas and the economic recovery of the two countries after the coronavirus pandemic.
He said that the vaccination process is making a special contribution to this, in the context of which he recalled that Spain has donated 4.5 million doses to Egypt through the COVAX mechanism.
"Recovery comes from the hand of vaccines," stressed the head of the Executive, who pointed out that Egypt was one of the few world economies that grew in 2020.
He congratulated Al-Sisi, the Prime Minister, Egyptian businessmen and also the Spanish companies that have contributed to this with their investments.
However, he considered that trade exchanges are still far from what was expected and have enormous potential, which is why he bet on a greater Spanish business presence after the reforms in Egypt, which he recognised as facilitating investment and increasing legal certainty.
"There is still a long way to go (...). Our economic relations must increase significantly and I trust that this will be the case", insisted the President of the Government, who asserted that "Spain and Egypt must be ever closer".
After recalling some of the Egyptian projects in which Spanish companies have participated, such as those related to renewable energies and water treatment, he insisted that Spain "wants to contribute to the great development that the country is experiencing".
In this context, he framed the renewal of the financial protocol to promote investment in Egypt, which is to be signed during his visit.
Sánchez, who was accompanied by the Secretary of State for Trade, Xiana Méndez, said that this protocol will reach 400 million euros, 100 million more than the previous one.
For his part, the Egyptian Prime Minister thanked Sánchez for coming to his country, invited Spanish companies to increase their investments in Egypt in various sectors and highlighted the decisions that his government has been taking to facilitate it.
Along these lines, he welcomed the renewal of the financial protocol with Spain.
"Egypt is making efforts and continues to work on a roadmap to overcome difficulties and attract foreign investment with laws that encourage it, fighting corruption and bureaucracy, streamlining procedures and providing tax benefits," he added.
At present, there are more than fifty Spanish companies present in the country, and the sectors in which the government sees the greatest potential to increase their presence include water infrastructure, wind energy, wind turbine and wind turbine technology, aircraft manufacturing, trains and railway equipment, and the design and construction of high-tech military and civilian vessels.
Eleven Spanish companies attended the forum, and several of their managers travelled with Sánchez from Madrid.
Specifically, presidents or senior executives from Indra, Navantia, Talgo, Técnicas Reunidas, Airbus España, CAF, Ignis, Thales España, Escribano Mechanical&Engineering, Siemens Gamesa and FCC Aqualia were present.
The heads of the latter two companies, Miguel Ángel López and Félix Parra, took the floor at the event to talk about the positive experience of their firms' presence in Egypt.
Also in attendance were officials from the Spanish Confederation of Business Organisations (CEOE) - specifically its International President, Marta Blanco - and from the Spanish Chamber of Commerce.
After participating in the forum, Sánchez went to the Presidential Palace to meet with Al-Sisi.