France and Egypt

Political relations

Bilateral relations between France and Egypt are based on strong, longstanding ties of friendship and confidence, and have developed considerably in all areas over the last four years.

High-level bilateral meetings have increased considerably, with visits at the level of Heads of State on an almost yearly basis: President Sisi to Paris from 25 to 27 November 2014; the President of the French Republic as guest of honour at the inauguration on 6 August 2015 of work to widen the Suez Canal; and President Sisi’s official visit to Paris from 23 to 25 October 2017.

The two countries hold close political dialogue on regional issues, such as the Middle East Peace Process and Libya.

Egypt is also a key partner in the fight against terrorism. Defence cooperation between France and Egypt is very close. At the same time, several major arms contracts have been concluded, and France providing support (maintenance, training sessions, etc.) New projects are being considered.

Visits

2018

  • 28 June 2018 - Visit to Egypt by Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs
  • 29 June 2018 - Visit to Egypt by Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs
  • 5 April 2018 - Visit to France by Inès Abdeldaiem, Minister of Culture

2017

  • 23 - 25 October 2017 - Official visit by President Sisi to France. Meetings with the President of the French Republic, the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the Minister for the Armed Forces, and the Presidents of the National Assembly and the Senate.
  • 6 October 2017 - Visit to France by Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • 26 July 2017 - Visit to France by Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • 8 June 2017 - Visit to Egypt by Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs

2016

  • 25-28 May 2016 - Visit to Egypt by Jean-Marie Le Guen, Minister of State for Development and Francophonie
  • 20 December 2016 - Visit to Cairo by Harlem Désir, Minister of State for European Affairs (for the fourth ministerial meeting of the European Union and Arab League).
  • 29 September 2016 - Visit by Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad
  • 17-19 April 2016 - State visit by President of the French Republic François Hollande to Egypt
  • 9-10 March 2016 - Visit by Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to Cairo (meetings with President Sisi and Mr Ayrault’s counterpart, Sameh Shoukry)

2015

  • 10-11 October 2015 – Visit to Cairo by Prime Minister 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, Jean-Yves Le Drian.
  • 20-21 June 2015 – Visit to Egypt by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, 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, 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, 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, Sameh Shoukry, to take part in the republican march to commemorate the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack.

2014

  • 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, Laurent Fabius; the Minister of Defence, 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, Hany Kadry Damian (meeting with his counterpart, Michel Sapin).
  • 12 October 2014 – Visit to Cairo by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, 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, 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 Sisi and the Egyptian Minister of Defence).
  • 2 September 2014 – Visit to France by the Egyptian Foreign Minister, 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, Laurent Fabius (in the context of the crisis in Gaza).

Economic relations

France is a leading economic partner for Egypt. According to French customs, in 2017 France and Egypt posted an increase of 21.8% in their trade, which totalled €2.5 billion, after experiencing their largest decrease in ten years in 2016 (a 27.5% year-on-year rate decrease to €2 billion in trade). According to the Central Bank of Egypt, France ranked 11 among Egypt’s trade partners for the 2016-2017 fiscal year (2.9% of Egypt’s overall trade), down a rank from 2015-2016 (3.4% of trade).

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, retail, 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 and enjoying exceptional French financial support (more than €2 billion in concessional financing since 1980). 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), focusing on the disciplines of humanities and social sciences and carrying out research 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), and several archaeological missions.

The Francophone tradition has 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 schools and accredited establishments, bilingual schools are the cornerstone of the French-speaking community and educate students who go on to study French-language courses 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 thus 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). Plans to create an Egyptian National School of Public Administration (ENA) are under way.

For more information, visit the following websites:

Updated: 15 October 2018

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