• Egyptian contractors encouraged to work on Ethiopian roads
  • Ministerial representatives meet to discuss bilateral relations
  • Signing of preliminary agreement over dam improves relations between Egypt and Ethiopia

Egypt’s Housing Ministry and Ethiopia’s Transport Ministry have been discussing bilateral relations, which could see several Egyptian contractors taking on road projects across the east African state.

Egyptian media reported that following a meeting on the sidelines of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa summit in Addis Ababa between the two ministries on 31 March, Egypt’s Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly said his office will be encouraging Egyptian firms to bid for contracts relating to Ethiopia’s 50,000-kilometre road programme.

Madbouly also said Egyptian contractors are encouraged to submit bids for work on the new international airport in Addis Ababa.

In December 2014, the Egyptian ambassador to Ethiopia, Mohamed Idris, announced that local firm Arab Contractors had been awarded a contract to work on the initial implementation of the Ethiopian section of the Cairo to Cape Town road project.

The road in Ethiopia will stretch for about 170 kilometres, and is funded by the African Development Bank. It will service the Mombasa, Nairobi and Addis Ababa corridor, and is part of the planned Trans-African Highway Cairo-Cape Town, which will run for thousands of kilometres and link Egypt to South Africa.

In a statement, Idris said the move also comes as part of Egyptian efforts to become more involved in projects with an “African dimension”.

This comes amid improving relations between the two Nile basin countries, following the signing of a preliminary agreement with the leaders of Ethiopia and Sudan over the controversial Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi signed the pact with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Halemariam Desalegn and Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on 23 March.

The Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will be the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa, has strained relations between Egypt and Ethiopia since construction work on the dam was started in May 2013, with Cairo concerned the dam will significantly reduce the flow of water into Egypt and Sudan.

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