CAF President Ahmad sacks deputy as purge continues    Algerian team came to Cairo to win AFCON title: Djamel Belmadi    Egypt, Uzbekistan study establishing pharmaceutical plant    Maintaining or starting exercise in middle age means longer life    Sturridge banned and fined for breaching betting rules    Iran's guards say it seized a foreign oil tanker in the Gulf : TV    UK may be entering full-blown recession    UK lawmakers to vote on latest bid to try to prevent a no-deal Brexit    Guardiola hails Sane but wants only 'happy players' at Man City    U.S. President Trump slammed for tweet about hunting down Mumbai attack mastermind    Oil prices slightly regain ground, Brent reaches $64.93 per barrel    Belgium's Port of Antwerp to develop bunkering activity in Egypt    Egyptians Brace for Rising Prices Due to Subsidy Cuts    Sudan's military, opposition sign 1st part of power-sharing deal    Houthis strike Saudi's Jizan airport with drone    US House condemns Trump's "racist tweet" against four congresswomen    King Tut's golden coffin undergoes first restoration since 1922 discovery    Changing dominant narrative of women on stage    Mainland Chinese markets fall amid renewed threat to trade    Egypt, Algeria in talks over energy cooperation – ambassador    IMF to hand Egypt's final tranche of $12bn July 24 – PM    Explorations of music, sound, architecture of Islamic Cairo and everyday life    Farewell to Italy's best-loved writer Andrea Camilleri    Parliament Speaker announces end of fourth legislative term    Total of 59,455 expats in Egypt have undergone virus C screening    Renovation of Egyptian Museum to include installing new lighting, display systems    Egypt, Algeria discuss energy cooperation    Kenya eyes partnership with Egypt's energy sector: Minister    House condemns President Trump over racist comments tweeted at congresswomen    Parliament approves new NGOs draft law amid members' rejections    Egypt prosecution releases transgender woman detained on terrorism related charges    Ministers, ambassadors and artists attend Bastille Day celebration in Giza    Egypt's parliament starts new NGO law discussion    4th convocation of parliament concluded    Cairo hosts 6th meeting of Egyptian-Sudanese military committee    Egypt's parliament Oks new NGO law    Egypt's parliament's 5th convocation sessions to be aired live: Parliament speaker    Egypt's parliament approves new NGO law    Egypt inaugurates museum to honor late novelist Naguib Mahfouz    Egypt to sue following sale of $5.97mn Pharaoh Tutankhamun statue    Cervantes Institute celebrates summer cinema in Cairo    Bookmakers expects Egypt's Mo Salah might miss the year's Ballon D'or award    Fired MP detained pending investigations over corruption charges    Egypt arrests founder of pro-Mubarak Facebook page – source    Egypt sees national population growth rate to halve before 2052    AFCON quarter-finals: Desert Warriors face Ivorian Elephants in early final    Orange Egypt removes Warda from ad campaign after harassment case    Hassan Shehata slams Egyptian team, EFA following AFCON exit    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Egypt's tale of Africa
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 14 - 02 - 2019

Helmi Shaarawi's “Egyptian African Biography” (Sira Misriya Afrikiya) is a large volume of over 500 pages that came out a couple of weeks ago during the 2019 Cairo International Book Fair. It was also released in time for Egypt's taking over the presidency of the African Union (AU) that started this week. It is the first presidency for Egypt since 1993 when it last chaired the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) before the name and style of cooperation of the pan-African organisation changed in 2002.
In 2018, Shaarawi finished a two-year task of writing his book that stands somewhere between a memoire and a biography. It was exactly the same year that he ended his job as chair of the Arab African Research Institute, which he had assumed in 1982 at a time when Egypt was overcoming years of internal political changes in the wake of the 1973 War and subsequent 1979 peace treaty with Israel, and was getting back on track with its previous high profile relations with Africa.
Shaarawi's first job, however, which he assumed for 14 consecutive years starting from 1960, was researcher at the Africa Unit of the presidential office.
Between 1960 and 2018, Shaarawi spent an entire career working on understanding and enhancing relations with Africa. As such, his book is not just a collection of meetings he had with African figures and leaders or visits he had made in close to six consecutive decades all over the continent. It is rather a first-hand testimony in the making — and later perhaps unmaking — of Egypt's policies on Africa.
As he states in the introduction, Shaarawi's book is not designed to document these policies. He chose not to include in it almost any official documents, for he had meant it to be his personal take on how he saw Egypt building and enhancing — or at times neglecting — its relations with Africa.
Still, the book is full of considerable details on how Egypt managed these highly sensitive and important relations. And apart from the first four chapters that are dedicated to introducing the reader to the author — a Cairo University student of sociology in the early 1950s with a passion for anthropology and an affinity towards Africa — the other nine chapters are an interesting, if not highly detailed, explanation of the current profile of Egypt's relations, including the most pressing issue of its relations with Ethiopia and Sudan, and the rest of the Nile Basin countries in East Africa.
Clearly, given Shaarawi's presence in the official quarters during the rule of Gamal Abdel-Nasser, his take on “how Egypt founded its policies on Africa” is a lot more detailed and informative than during the following years of the rule of Anwar Al-Sadat, when Shaarawi was moved to the non-governmental arm of Egyptian political management of Africa.
Still, and despite the announced preference that the author shows towards Nasser's policies over those of Sadat's, the book illustrates that there was always a continuity in Egypt's engagement with Africa, even if it lived through ups and downs, especially after the 1967 War that forced Cairo to give less attention to expanding its relations with Africa — not just the political but also cultural and economic relations — in favour of working on liberating Egyptian territories that Israel had seized in June 1967.
Shaarawi's later role as a senior researcher in African affairs, far from almost all decision-making circles during the subsequent rule of Hosni Mubarak, further reduces the dose of information and allows more of an overview take of the progress, or the lack thereof at times, of Cairo's relations with the rest of Africa's capitals.
Overall, the book is a very interesting baggage of information, anecdotes, analysis and memories that recalls Shaarawi's “road to Africa”. It shows how the personal preferences of some senior aides of the successive rulers of Egypt since 1952 and the layered relations between official bodies helped shape Egypt's policies on Africa from the heydays of its support of African independence movements in the 1950s and 1960s to the current attempts to rebuild strong bridges with the continent.
The book also explains the “African zones of interest” for Egypt and the complexities of relations among the regions of the continent built on ethnic, religious and certainly colonial affiliations, in a way that sheds a great deal of light on today's inter-African relations and the interests of leading international powers in the continent.

Clic here to read the story from its source.