Focus on Cooperation: Russia and Egypt Ready for SPIEF’22

Under the auspices of the President of the Russian Federation, the popular St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) comes off this mid-June 2022 for members of the Russian and global business community to meet and discuss the key economic issues facing Russia, emerging markets, and the world as a whole.

Over the last 24 years, it has been a unique platform for consolidating simply business for Russia and largely determines for its economy interested external corporate partners. June forum marks the 25th anniversary. Egypt (was chosen during the last closing ceremony) and becomes the guest organizer and participant. It will simultaneously help with preliminary preparations for the second Russia-Africa summit.

Russia and Egypt have been traditional partners. Both parties are interested in the comprehensive development of bilateral relations. Beyond that, it could play significant role in driving Arab and African potential partners to St. Petersburg in June 15 to 18.

Egypt will have the honorary status of a guest country at the 25th anniversary of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. This honorary status involves the organization of a whole range of events within the business and cultural programmes.

“Egypt’s participation in the SPIEF as a guest country will help to fully unleash the economic potential of cooperation for the international community and present (Egypt) as a tourist destination as well as its culture. For many countries, Egypt can serve as an entry point to the African continent and the Arab world and a reliable partner for the implementation of projects in various sectors of the economy and culture,” noted the Adviser to the Russian President Anton Kobyakov during one of the meetings held last year.

As of the preparations, last February, the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum organized a business session for the working group in Cairo, Egypt. The main tasks was to deliberate on upcoming full-fledged participation as a guest country and the agenda for the forum. 

During the SPIEF, Egypt has the chance to show the breakthrough that has occurred in relations between Russia and Egypt in terms of economic cooperation and, given the international scale of the event, and to present opportunities for bilateral interaction with other countries.

According to official reports, the heads of ministries and agencies in Russia and Egypt are engaged in unprecedented intensive dialogues, all toward ensuring the success of the forum. Both parties are also looking at joint project of creating Russian industrial zone in Egypt.

It is, however believed that roughly 100 industrial facilities were built in Egypt with the Soviet Union’s assistance, many of which still play an important role in the Egyptian economy, primarily the Aswan Dam, the Helwan Steel Plant, and the Nag Hammadi Aluminium Plant. The scale of business interaction has declined in the post-Soviet era, but has been steadily growing again in recent years.

“It’s clear that Egypt has made considerable efforts in preparing the exhibition stand, the business programme and, importantly the cultural programme. This year, the forum will as usual host representatives of government agencies, business communities and experts. We have been developing youth programmes, and for business leaders and entrepreneurs, along with a cluster of young academics,” said Chairman of the Board and CEO of Roscongress Foundation Alexander Stuglev.

During April 12 meeting, Director of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Alexey Valkov, spoke on some aspects related to ensuring epidemiological safety. He further emphasized the time-frames for accreditation, projects, and that technical solutions are strictly adhered to, the importance of developing transparent and unambiguous procedures for participants.

“It is crucial to follow this procedure in order to avoid disruptions. I am in no doubt that the concerted efforts of all offices and organizations involved in preparations for this anniversary edition will make it the biggest, safest, and most significant event of its kind in 2022,” said Valkov.

The SPIEF is held annually, and since 2006 it has been held under the patronage and with the participation of the President of the Russian Federation. Despite the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the forum might still open wide possibilities to discuss in-depth the significance, challenges and prospects of sustainable business partnership cooperation between state institutions as well as between foreign countries and Russia.

In the meanwhile, as a direct result of the “special military operation” launched since February 24, Russia has come under a raft of sanctions imposed by the United States and Canada, European Union, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and a host of other countries.

Kester Kenn Klomegah
Kester Kenn Klomegah
MD Africa Editor Kester Kenn Klomegah is an independent researcher and writer on African affairs in the EurAsian region and former Soviet republics. He wrote previously for African Press Agency, African Executive and Inter Press Service. Earlier, he had worked for The Moscow Times, a reputable English newspaper. Klomegah taught part-time at the Moscow Institute of Modern Journalism. He studied international journalism and mass communication, and later spent a year at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He co-authored a book “AIDS/HIV and Men: Taking Risk or Taking Responsibility” published by the London-based Panos Institute. In 2004 and again in 2009, he won the Golden Word Prize for a series of analytical articles on Russia's economic cooperation with African countries.