ISSN 2686 - 9675 (Print)
ISSN 2782 - 1935 (Online)

Китайский «Один пояс, один путь» в арабских странах северной и восточной Африки

2. The Synergy of the OBOR and the Egypt Vision 2030

Despite the fact that the official establish-ment of diplomatic relations between China and Egypt took place only in 1956, the interaction be-tween the two countries developed earlier. So, for example, in the 1930s, twenty Chinese Muslim stu-dents were sent to Egypt to study at Al-Azhar Uni-versity, upon completion of their stu-dies, they be-came translators and teachers of Arabic in China. After the establishment of official diplomatic rela-tions, Egypt supported the PRC in its aspiration to become a full member of the United Nation’s Secu-rity Council (UNSC) with a veto, and China con-demned the aggression of Great Britain, France and the United States (US) against Egypt during the Su-ez crisis [3].

Beijing emphasizes Egypt's role in regional and international affairs and, given the traditional activity of Egyptian diplomacy, sees Cairo as a po-tential partner in the Arab-Muslim world [101]. It is no coincidence that Egyptian-Chinese relations have a special place in the Sino-Arab dialogue, in particular in the framework of the CASCF [26, p. 150]. Egypt is also an African power, so Egyptian-Chinese relations have a special place in the FO-CAC. Egypt is seen as a bridge to China's expanding ties with the Arab world and Africa [46].

In April 1999, a joint memorandum on estab-lishing a strategic partnership between the two countries on the 21st century was signed in Beijing [2, p. 9]. In June 2006, a "Deep Strategic Coopera-tion Program between China and Egypt" was signed, under which a political agreement and a MoU on establishing mechanisms for strategic dialogue were signed between the two countries' foreign mi-nistries [26, p. 151].

Egypt plays a key role in China's 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) due to its strategic lo-cation between Africa, the Mediterranean and Eu-rope. Through MSR, China intends to gain `access` to the natural entry point to the Mediterranean from the east and make Egypt one of the largest centers for the production of Chinese goods destined for the markets of Africa, Europe and the Middle East (ME) [75]. The Suez Canal has an advan-tageous geographical position, and therefore Egypt can be-come the industrial, trade and logistics center of the `region` [13].

During Xi's Egyptian visit in January 2016, China signed a MoU with Egypt to enhance cooper-ation on the implementation of the BRI [34; 14]. In 2017, China and Egypt signed a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement to expand cooper-ation and enhance Egypt's status among China's partners [75]. In October 2018, Egypt and China had signed deals worth US $ 18 billion as part of the BRI [65]. In April 2019, Egyptian President Ab-del Fattah al-Sisi, speaking at the opening ceremo-ny of the B&R international forum, said that Egypt is increasing energy production, diversifying ener-gy resources and turning itself into a regional ener-gy center [13]. In 2020, the parties agreed to con-tinue work on the integration of the Chinese initia-tive and the national development strategy "Egypt Vision 2030" [9].

In November 2006, Egypt recognized China as a country with a full market economy [57; 7]. China's exports to Egypt reached US $ 7.61 billion in the first eight months of 2018, while its imports from Egypt totalled US $ 1.22 billion. China-Egypt bilateral trade volume grew 26.7% year-on-year in January-August 2018 to reach US $ 8.83 billion. About 1,080 Chinese companies are operating in Egypt in various sectors, notably industry, information technology and eco-nomic zones [121]. China and Egypt signed US $ 1 billion financing agreement for Egypt's central bank and a US $ 700 million loan to state-owned National Bank of Egypt [39].

The Suez Canal attracts most of the Chinese investment in the country through the redevelop-ment of many of the canal ports, such as Ismailia and Port Said [75]. Both the harbors at the ends of the Suez Canal have a great influence over the ME, Africa and the entire planet in terms of geopolitics and global trade. Egypt plans to open six new ports and more industrial parks along-side the canal, and launch in the nearby areas pro-jects like a new industrial city, which is capable of hosting hundreds of factories [118]. In August 2014, a 72-km expansion of the Suez Canal Eco-nomic Zone (SCZone), launched in 2009, was ap-proved by the Egyptian government to boost the country's ailing economy [107]. Chinese construc-tion firms are already the largest investors in Egypt’s mega-project [19].

2 — 2022
Арутюнян Агавни Александровна, Отдел международных отношений Института Востоковедения Национальной Академии Наук Армении