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Egypt in the heart of Africa
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 14 - 02 - 2019

The role that Egypt can play during its one-year presidency of the African Union grabbed the attention of the media this week.
Mohamed Salah Al-Badri asked what Africa needs from Egypt. He noted that the decision taken in July 2013 to freeze Egypt's membership in the AU was one of the most negative decisions taken against Egypt.
However, Al-Badri elaborated, the decision prompted Egypt to adopt different policies toward Africa as the regime tried with all its power to regain its political role in the continent.
Via the experiences it acquired through challenges, Egypt has a lot to give to Africa, Al-Badri added. Pending files, including violence and terrorism, should be opened. Besides, it should improve health and education in the African states, and direct the abilities of the religious and scientific institutions in Egypt – like the universities and Al-Azhar – to improve religious and scientific beliefs in some states.
The editorial of the official daily Al-Ahram said that President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi drew, in his speech before the AU summit, a comprehensive road map for the development of Africa on the political, economic and cultural levels.
The Egyptian vision toward Africa, explained the editorial, is initiated by the fact that the continent possesses enormous natural and human resources and that the driving force of development is youth. Thus, the plan proposed by President Al-Sisi included a comprehensive vision that depends on employing those resources in achieving sustainable and comprehensive development via mega projects such as establishing the Free Trade Zone, boosting regional integration and making full use of modern technology.
“The road map presented by Al-Sisi is based on raising hopes for a better future for Africa and that development will not be achieved except by African hands, especially women and youth,” the edit said.
Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Sherif regarded Egypt's chairmanship of the AU as a good opportunity to know more about Africa and its importance to us.
Thus, Al-Sherif started his regular column in the daily Al-Youm Al-Sabei by blaming Egyptians for secluding themselves from Africa, not only on the political level but the cultural level as well which he regarded as more important and influential.
It is known, he added, that Africa possesses an old human civilisation based on cultural diversity. Thus, when we ask ourselves about the steps that we took toward the continent, we will find them very few.
“The way out lies in the hands of three institutions that need to review their policies and find a way to link African to Egyptian culture and vice versa. These institutions are the ministries of education, culture and tourism”.
Culture, Al-Sherif concluded, is the only tool that can move the stagnant waters in Egyptian-African relations and open up more windows for different visions that can pave the way for making one future for Africa and Egypt.
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Happy Valentine
By Makhlouf, Al-Masry Al-Youm


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