France - Egypt

Macron winds up Egypt visit that bagged France €1bn in business

Stron handshake between French President Macron (L) and Egyptian President al-Sisi (R), an ally to France
Stron handshake between French President Macron (L) and Egyptian President al-Sisi (R), an ally to France AFP / Ludovic Marin

President Emmanuel Macron left Egypt bagging some 30 deals worth nearly one billion euros. He also met with Egypt’s top clerics and visited the new administrative capital some 60 km away from Cairo.

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A helicopter ride over the new city under construction was the unexpected part of Macron three-day official visit to Egypt.

It was a last minute decision to accommodate the Egyptian president. Arriving late at a reception with the French community based in Egypt, he told them he gave in because it was important for the relation between the two countries.

Macron and Sisi had “fruitful talks” in private even though Macron did say in the joint press conference that he is not in Egypt “to give lessons."

The 30 agreements and memorandums of understanding between Paris and Cairo covers various sectors, including transport, health, education, energy and infrastructure.

The French RATP transport company, for example, is working on the expansion of the Cairo underground.

Religion and activists

On Tuesday, his last day in Egypt, Macron lunched with representatives of the civil society. The French presidency said he met people "active in the areas of judicial protection of detainees, press freedom, gender equality and children's defence.”

He also met Egypt’s clerics, inclduing Pope Tawadros II at St Marks Cathedral and Ahmed al-Tayeb, the imam of the Al Azhar mosque.

He stressed the need for dialogue between the religions, indicating that a “new conference will be held in Paris” in order to act more effectively on such issues.

President Macron travelled to Egypt with a large delegation of government ministers, two dozen representatives from academic, cultural, and scientific fields, and a dozen business leaders - including the heads of Rafale producer Dassault.

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