Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping in Cairo as the two countries look to expand political, economic and cultural ties.
The Chinese President’s visit, which is the first by a Chinese leader in 12 years, coincides with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Egypt and China.
After being met at the airport by the Egyptian leader, the two leaders headed to Abdeen Palace, which was first erected in 1863 and is designed by French architect Rousseau, for a tour and bilateral talks.
The Chinese leader, who earlier this month announced Egypt as the Guest of Honour at the upcoming G-20 Summit in China, is expected to visit Egypt’s newly-convened Parliament and will give a speech at the Arab League’s headquarters just meters away from Tahrir Square.
During his three-day visit, the Chinese President will also attend the launch of an Egyptian-Chinese economic project at Ain El-Sokhna and will finalize a $US 1 billion loan deal that is aimed at boosting Cairo’s foreign reserves.
The two countries will also discuss ways to boost Chinese tourism to Egypt and new economic and transportation projects. Egypt and China are also set to finalize plans regarding the construction of a satellite assembly plan, boosting Egypt’s efforts to enter the ‘space race’.
In the cultural sphere, the Chinese President is set to announce 2016 as the ‘Year of Chinese Culture’ in Egypt. Precisely what this entails remains unclear.
Since the January 25 revolution in 2011, which resulted in a decline in Egypt’s foreign reserves and economic turmoil, the country has been looking to diversify its economic and trade opportunities.