On Monday, the President of the General Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, Ahmed El Wakil noted that trade between Libya and Egypt has drastically plummeted, falling from $1.377 billion in 2013, to a mere $455 million a decade later.
The drop-off is attributed to numerous challenges, including delayed payment of debts, unresolved issues concerning container passage, and the inability to open lines of credit.
El Wakil recently held a meeting with a high-level Libyan delegation, attended by representatives from the General Consulate of Libya in Alexandria, the Union of Libyan Chambers of Commerce, the Benghazi Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture. As well as members of the Libyan and Egyptian customs authorities.
He expressed concern over Egypt’s underwhelming investment in Libya, currently standing at a paltry $520 million dollars, especially considering the surge in reconstruction initiatives. He voiced the need to facilitate the return of more than two million Egyptian labourers, who had previously worked in various sectors in Libya.
El Wakil affirmed the “joint efforts of both nations to reestablish this unity, with the private sector playing an influential role in amplifying bi-national trade, shared investments, and employment opportunities.” He underscored the importance of “transcending traditional bilateral relations, and proactively seeking to tap into global markets for the shared benefit of both countries.”
He stressed the immediate need to integrate Egyptian expertise, with Libyan investments in Africa, benefiting both countries.
The Egyptian official called on the private sector, with the backing of both governments, to “undertake collaborative projects aimed at the reconstruction of Libya, particularly in the areas of transport, logistics, roadways, ports, infrastructure, and electricity. This would draw upon Egypt’s expertise in the urgent implementation of electrical projects, and major infrastructural developments.”
In a related development, a consortium of Egyptian companies has initiated the third ring road project, valued at nearly $1 billion dollars, employing an all-Egyptian workforce of around 2,500 workers.