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Monday, 5 July 2021

Egypt to weigh in on rebuilding Iraq’s manufacturing sector

Egypt and Iraq are stepping up cooperation in manufacturing projects in a plan that will see Egyptian companies work on rehabilitating factories in Iraq and setting up industrial zones, the Trade and Industry Ministry said following a meeting between minister Nevine Gamea and her Iraqi counterpart, Manhal Aziz Al Khabbaz, in Baghdad yesterday. Both ministers agreed on a “comprehensive plan” that covers finding avenues for cooperation between private sector companies in Egypt and Iraq, tenders the Iraqi government will open up to Egyptian industrial players for public-private partnerships to revamp state-owned factories, and sharing expertise that would help Iraq rebuild its manufacturing base, Gamea said.

The plan will focus on specific industries where cooperation is most possible, the minister noted. Those industries include pharma, textiles and ready-made clothes, car tyres, electrical equipment and electronics, building materials, chemicals, metals, glass and refractories, leather-making, processed foods, petrochemicals, and telecommunications equipment.

A presidential push: Gamea’s meeting with Al Khabbaz followed three-way talks between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Iraqi President Barham Salih, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi and Jordan's King Abdullah II in the Iraqi capital last week. The talks saw the three countries agree to deepen security and economic cooperation including on plans to aid the reconstruction of war-torn Iraq, the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the situation in Palestine.

Egypt has been keen to get involved in the reconstruction of Iraq: Last year, the two countries — which have significantly stepped up bilateral ties in past months — signed 15 MoUs covering everything from oil and water resources to construction, transportation and environmental protection, as well as an “oil-for-reconstruction” agreement that is seeing Iraq supply the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation with 12 mn barrels of oil this year. This was followed last month by an agreement between the two countries’ ICT ministries to increase investments in digital and telecom infrastructure.

You can learn more about Egypt’s infrastructure diplomacy in our Hardhat feature here.

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