Egypt aims for BRICS membership

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 26, 2013
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 [By Jiao Haiyang/]

 [By Jiao Haiyang/]

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is set to attend a summit of the BRICS countries on Tuesday, raising hopes that he would push for Egypt's membership of the group, which will help rescue the country's ailing economy following two years of political turmoil.

Morsi's attendance at the fifth summit of BRICS, a group which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is seen by many economists as "a golden chance" for Egypt to boost ties with emerging economies, and hopefully, to bring back foreign investments and economic partnerships previously driven away by chaos and instability in the country.

"Attending a summit gathering emerging economies like Brazil, India and of course, the giant China, will be a chance for Egypt to boost economic bilateral relations that could be translated into economic agreements," Ehab al-Desouki, head of Economic Research Center of Sadat Academy in Egypt's capital Cairo, told Xinhua.

Desouki expected Egypt to seek BRICS membership, which would be "a significant attempt, even if the president fails to achieve it. "

According to Desouki, Morsi is likely to invite presidents of China and India to pay official visits to Egypt in the near future which could result in partnerships and joint projects. "A country like China wants to help Egypt, but it waits for the right moment to launch giant projects in Egypt as a stable country," he said.

Mohamed Abdel-Aziz Hegazy, finance professor at the American University in Cairo, told Xinhua that "It is a good chance for the president to reassure BRICS members about the situation in Egypt and to bring some investments back home."

Some economic observers, including Hegazy, believe that BRICS member states represent good examples for Egypt to learn from, since they used to face similar economic problems as that of Egypt.

The finance professor is optimistic about Egypt's bid for the BRICS membership. "I expect the request to be granted because Egypt enjoys a promising environment for the establishment of many projects, particularly those related to tourism, the Suez Canal and gas manufacturing," he told Xinhua.

Morsi is expected to hold separate talks with leaders of participating countries over bilateral economic cooperation during the two-day summit in South Africa, according to Egypt's state-run MENA news agency.

However, some analysts do not see Egypt as ready to commit to any major economic agreements yet.

"It is not a good decision for Morsi to attend a summit including important economic countries before achieving political stability at home as a prior step for economic partnerships," Farag Abdel-Fattah, economics professor at Cairo University, told Xinhua.

The professor argued that Egypt would be unable to provide adequate guarantees for any future economic agreements with BRICS countries, due to "current deep political and economic problems."

Abdel-Fattah also downplayed the importance of BRICS membership for Egypt at the current stage. "Egypt is already a member in many important trade blocs which it could not benefit from due to its political instability," said the professor.

After two years of political chaos, Egypt is struggling with alarming budget deficit and critical low level of foreign currency reserves. The country is still striving for a rescue loan of 4.8 billion U.S. dollars from the International Monetary Fund and partnerships with powerful economies to overcome the crisis.


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