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UK Trade Envoy to Egypt arrives in Cairo for First Visit

UK Trade Envoy to Egypt arrives in Cairo for first visit since appointment by Prime Minister David Cameron

Jeffrey Donaldson MP, Prime Minister David Cameron’s trade envoy to Egypt, will arrive in Cairo on Sunday 7 February to begin a week-long visit aimed at strengthening British-Egyptian business links. His programme includes events taking place in Cairo, Alexandria, Idku, Port Said and Ismailia.

Donaldson is set to meet senior government ministers including Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and Minister of Trade Tarek Kabil, as well as leading Egyptian businessmen such as Naguib Sawiris and Ahmed el-Sewedy. He is also expected to meet Ahmed Darwish, chairman of the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

Donaldson’s visit will focus on three key strategic sectors, where British businesses can offer Egypt long experience and world-class expertise: energy, infrastructure, and education.

Donaldson will also encourage the Egyptian government to undertake further reforms that make Egypt an easier place to do business and transform Egypt into a more modern, competitive economy.

Donaldson said:

Egypt is a land of real opportunity for British companies. I am excited to spearhead the UK’s efforts to deepen our business partnership with Egypt and encourage bold economic reforms. This will not only bring great economic benefit to the UK but will also be vital in helping Egypt build a strong, dynamic economy that creates jobs and opportunities for the Egyptian people.

Prime Minister David Cameron appointed Donaldson as trade envoy to Egypt during the visit of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to London in November 2015.

Donaldson has been an elected Member of Parliament since 1997. He is a member of the Democratic Unionist Party and represents the Northern Ireland constituency of Lagan Valley.

Donaldson has a long-standing interest in Egypt and has visited several times. He is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Egypt, which is a group of parliamentarians dedicated to strengthening UK-Egyptian relations.

Commenting on Donaldson’s visit, British Ambassador John Casson said:

Prime Minister David Cameron’s appointment of Jeffrey as trade envoy to Egypt is a clear sign of the UK’s commitment to Egypt.

Egypt may have suffered several years of economic turbulence, but British companies and British investors have stood firmly committed to this country throughout. The UK is an ideal partner for Egypt. Whether it is through trade deals, continued investment, or advice about economic reform, the UK can play a vital role in helping transform Egypt’s economy.

That’s in all of our interests because a strong, dynamic Egyptian economy is the best foundation for the wide-ranging and long-term change that Egypt needs to succeed - developing effective and accountable institutions, protecting individual rights, and countering extremism.

The UK is already the number one investor in Egypt: British companies invested $5.4bn in Egypt in fiscal year 2014-15, accounting for over 40% of total foreign direct investment inflows. British investment over the past five years totals over $25bn.

Examples of successful British businesses already working in Egypt include ACTIS, Unilever, HSBC, Barclays, Vodafone, BG, and BP. BP’s $12bn investment in the West Nile Delta project was the largest investment deal in Egypt’s history and the project is expected to produce the equivalent of 25% of Egypt’s current gas supply.