Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Egypt seeks to bypass Turkish presence in Senegal

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Jan 12, 2021

CAIRO — Egypt’s parliamentary African Affairs Committee introduced Jan. 5 its intention to arrange a go to to Senegal in a bid to debate elements of bilateral cooperation in agricultural and infrastructure tasks and methods to set the wheel of investments in movement between the 2 international locations.

May Mahmoud, a member of the committee, mentioned in a press assertion that parliament attaches nice consideration to “the historical and fraternal ties between the African brothers,” stressing that “Egypt is at the heart of Africa, and no one can influence its historical role in supporting African peoples.”

Over the previous interval, Egypt has sought to get near Senegal by all potential means. On Dec. 2, 2020, Noha Khedr, Egypt’s Ambassador to Dakar, met with Senegalese Minister of Water and Sanitation Serigne Mbaye Thiam to debate methods to boost joint cooperation between the 2 international locations and determine funding alternatives in Senegal for Egyptian businessmen in water and sanitation tasks.

On Oct. 19, 2020, Abdullah Sau, head of the Senegalese Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, acquired Khedr within the presence of the president of the Senegalese-Egyptian Business Council, Khaled Mikati, to debate alternatives to extend commerce change of a number of merchandise between the 2 sides, notably textiles, development gear, carpets and home furnishings. The two sides additionally mentioned methods to spice up Egyptian investments within the tourism and photo voltaic vitality sectors.

Moreover, Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation Mohamed Manar, who can be a pilot, met Sept. 30, 2020, with Elie C. Bay, Senegal’s ambassador to Cairo, and touched on joint cooperation between the 2 international locations within the subject of air transport.

Manar confused through the assembly Egypt’s readiness to offer Egyptian experience for coaching, airport upkeep and administration, and infrastructure, amongst others. Both sides additionally mentioned the potential of working direct flights between Cairo and Dakar.

These Egyptian strikes got here within the wake of the official go to on Sept. 11, 2020, of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to Senegal, a primary of its form on the Foreign Ministry stage, to put the inspiration stone for the brand new constructing of his nation’s embassy within the Senegalese capital, Dakar.

In a press convention, Cavusoglu mentioned the amount of commerce change with and the variety of Turkish firms in Senegal is rising quickly.

“We want to raise the volume of trade exchange with Turkey to $400 million, and this is a common goal for us,” Senegal’s Foreign Minister Amadou Ba mentioned through the press convention.

Amani al-Taweel, director of the African Program at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, instructed Al-Monitor that the 12 months 2020 witnessed intensive actions on the a part of Turkey to consolidate its ties with West African international locations, particularly Senegal, by offering humanitarian support and concluding cooperation agreements in numerous financial, political and social fields, in a bid to maintain the lid on the state in Senegal.

What’s extra, on Jan. 29, 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan went on an official go to to Senegal and held a press convention along with his Senegalese counterpart, Macky Sall.

“We are building a common future with Senegal, inspired by a deep-rooted historical bond. Our businessmen are ready to make greater contributions to the Senegalese economy,” Erdogan mentioned again then.

The Turkish president additionally introduced the signing of seven business and financial agreements with Dakar and mentioned the 2 international locations would develop cooperation in tourism and protection.

For his half, Sall mentioned, “Turkish companies have played a vital role in infrastructure and development projects in Senegal, such as the [building] of the Blaise Diagne International Airport, the Dakar International Conference Center, the Sports Hall, as well as the construction of railways.”

He mentioned Turkey stood always with Senegal and President Erdogan is a buddy whose relations and cooperation with Dakar have deepened in recent times.

During a press convention on Dec. 31, 2020, the Turkish Red Crescent introduced the distribution of medical support in Dakar, together with medical masks and sterilizers, to assist the nation face the coronavirus pandemic.

“Turkey’s increased moves in this direction have raised the concerns of some countries, such as Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, about Ankara’s ambitions in the region. Cairo and Abu Dhabi will try to block the road on Turkey’s attempts to have a foothold in West Africa,” Amani defined.

On Dec. 23, 2020, Dubai Ports (DP) World introduced that it had signed an settlement with the Senegalese authorities to ascertain a seaport in deep waters within the Ndayane space, with investments amounting to $1.127 billion in two phases: The first contains the spending of $837 million, and the second $290 million.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, DP World chairman and CEO, mentioned this settlement will strengthen the group’s presence within the West African area.

Commenting on the Egyptian-Emirati efforts thwarting the Turkish incursion into West Africa through the Senegalese gateway, Amani mentioned, “Despite being two heavyweights in the region, both Egypt and the UAE are well aware of the dangers that are being hatched in the region. I think they will be able to ‘subdue’ Turkey’s ambitions but not eliminate them, especially since Ankara has large investments in Senegal and had managed to establish a strong presence in the country.”

According to statements by Ba on Sept. 11, 2020, the amount of commerce change between Senegal and Turkey elevated from $15 million in 2008 to $250 million in 2019.

Mona Omar, former adviser on Africa to the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs, mentioned Egypt fears the identical state of affairs would play out as soon as once more in Senegal after Turkey has managed to ascertain a presence in Somalia, the East African gate, the place Egypt has no bodily presence. She mentioned Egypt has uncared for the West African area and has been specializing in the Nile Basin international locations solely through the previous many years, which paved the best way for Turkey to realize a foothold there.

On Sept. 30, 2017, Turkey inaugurated a navy base within the south of the Somali capital of Mogadishu. The base contains three navy colleges together with different amenities and is seen as the most important Turkish navy coaching camp exterior of Turkey. Some 1,500 Somali troopers obtain navy coaching on the Turkish base.

Omar believes that Erdogan doesn’t view Senegal as a rustic with pure sources and wealth solely, but additionally as a method to encircle its southern neighbor, Libya, the place he seeks to guard his political and financial pursuits by way of his areas of affect in West Africa.

Turkey has been beneath worldwide criticism for its help of the Government of National Accord, primarily based within the west of Libya, within the face of the Libyan forces led by retired Libyan Gen. Khalifa Hifter within the east of the nation.

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