Presentation

France and Egypt

To illustrate the special nature and historic depth of our bilateral relationship, the Egyptians often talk of the extremely close ties that prevailed between our two countries throughout the 19ᵗʰ century, and our contribution to Egypt’s modernization and development. Our relationship remains just as close.

France has long-standing political contacts with the country at a high level. Since the 25 January 2011 revolution, France has supported the transition, such as by mobilizing the resources of the Deauville Partnership that it initiated. France, which has close trade relations with Egypt, is one of the leading investors there. Egypt is a member of the International Organisation of La Francophonie and 45,000 pupils their continue to receive French teaching.

For more information, visit the website of the French Embassy in Egypt

Political relations

Our bilateral relations are exceptional and Egypt is a key partner for France, in a region undergoing major shifts. Dialogue has continued with the Egyptian authorities on the basis of historical relations, and France and Egypt share common positions on regional issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the American intervention in Iraq, and counter-terrorism.

Visits and meetings

  • 25-28 December 2016: visit to Egypt by the Minister of State for Development and Francophonie, Mr Jean-Marie Le Guen.
  • 20 December 2016: visit to Cairo by the Minister of State for European Affairs, Mr Harlem Désir (fourth Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the European Union (EU) and the League of Arab States).
  • 29 September 2016: visit by Mr Matthias Fekl, French Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad.
  • 17-19 April 2016: State visit to Egypt by the President of the French Republic, Mr François Hollande.
  • 9-10 March 2016: visit to Cairo by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault (meetings with President al-Sisi and his counterpart, Mr Sameh Shoukry).
  • 10-11 October 2015: visit to Cairo by the Prime Minister, Mr Manuel Valls.
  • 6 August 2015: visit to Ismailia by the President of the French Republic for the inauguration of the expansion of the Suez Canal.
  • 24-26 July 2015: visit to Egypt by the Minister of Defence, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian.
  • 20-21 June 2015: visit to Egypt by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr Laurent Fabius (regional tour to discuss possibilities of restarting the Middle East Peace Process).
  • 12-13 May 2015: visit to France by the Egyptian Prime Minister, Mr Ibrahim Mahlab (meetings with the French President, Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Minister of Defence and representatives of the French Senate and National Assembly).
  • 13-14 March 2015: visit to Sharm El-Sheikh by the Minister of Finance and Public Accounts (Egypt Economic Development Conference “Egypt The Future”).
  • 4-5 March 2015: visit to Cairo by the Minister of State for Development and Francophonie, Ms Annick Girardin (bilateral visit and participation in the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment – AMCEN).
  • 11 January 2015: visit to France by the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Sameh Shoukry, to take part in the republican march to commemorate the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack.
  • 25-27 November 2014: official visit to France by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (meetings with the French President; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr Laurent Fabius; the Minister of Defence, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian; and the Presidents of the National Assembly and the Senate).
  • 30-31 October 2014: visit to France by the Egyptian Minister of Finance, Mr Hany Kadry Damian (meeting with his counterpart, Mr Michel Sapin).
  • 12 October 2014: visit to Cairo by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr Laurent Fabius (co-chairing the Cairo International Conference on Palestine organized at the initiative of Egypt and Norway).
  • 20 September 2014: visit to Cairo by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr Laurent Fabius (participation in the Cairo Conference on Palestine).
  • 23 September 2014: meeting in New York between the French President and the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Mr Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
  • 15 September 2014: visit to Egypt by the Minister of Defence (meeting with President al-Sisi and the Egyptian Minister of Defence).
  • 2 September 2014: visit to France by the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Mr Sameh Shoukry (meetings with the French President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs).
  • 18-19 July 2014: visit to Egypt by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Mr Laurent Fabius (in the context of the crisis in Gaza).

Economic relations

France is a leading economic partner for Egypt. Trade reached €2 billion in 2015, of which €1.5 billion of French exports and €0.5 billion of French imports. The flow of French foreign direct investment (FDI) totalled $250 million in 2015-2016, with stock standing at €3.5 billion in 2015.

France’s economic presence in Egypt, made up of 160 subsidiaries of French companies employing more than 30,000 people, has also grown recently. French companies have strong positions in key sectors of the Egyptian economy, such as industry, agri-food, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, distribution, hydrocarbon exploitation, tourism and infrastructure.

The signing of emblematic contracts for our companies regularly confirms the quality of our bilateral economic relationship. In the transport sector, the Cairo Metro is a flagship project for bilateral cooperation, with significant participation by French companies, benefitting from exceptional French financial support (more than €2 billion in concessional financing since 1980). In respect to this project, French companies were recently awarded the contract for phase 4A of line 3 (€440 million), contracts for signalling (€170 million) and electro-mechanical equipment (€480 million) for phase 3 of line 3 and civil engineering for the same phase (€1.12 billion). In the military field, several major export contracts have been concluded: sale of 4 corvettes by DCNS (May 2014); 24 Rafale fighter aircraft by Dassault Aviation; a multi-mission frigate by DCNS and weapon systems by MBDA (February 2015). In October 2015, Egypt also purchased the two Mistral-class force projection and command vessels built by DCNS and initially destined for Russia.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Cooperation with Egypt is driven in particular by the Institut français (French Institute) in Egypt, which has three sites (Cairo, Alexandria and Heliopolis).

In the field of research, the French presence is ensured in particular by the French Research Institute for Development (IRD) and the Centre for Social, Judicial and Economic Documentation and Study (CEDEJ), whose work focuses on the disciplines of humanities and social sciences and whose research is split into three themes (Governance and Public Policies, Development-Urban Studies-Mobility, and Digital Humanities).

France’s leading position in the field of archaeology in Egypt is ensured by the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology (IFAO), the French-Egyptian Centre for the Study of the Temples of Karnak (CFEETK), the Centre d’Etudes Alexandrines (CEAlex), as well as several archaeological missions.

The French-speaking tradition left its mark on the Egyptian elites. Mr Boutros Boutros-Ghali was the first Secretary-General of the International Organisation of La Francophonie from 1998 to 2002. In addition to the two directly-managed establishments and accredited establishments, bilingual establishments are the cornerstone of the French-speaking community and educate students who go on to study French-language options in higher education and at the French University in Egypt (UFE), which aim to offer outstanding education.

Finally, in the technical field, France implements a wide-ranging cooperation policy in Egypt in many sectors, in particular the administration and the judiciary. France hence participates each year in a cooperation scheme which allows Egyptian senior officials and judges to be trained at the National School of Public Administration (ENA) and the National School for the Judiciary (ENM).

See also:

Updated: 20 February 2017

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