Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr has said that China’s Belt & Road Initiative is the cornerstone of the world’s growth and development.

Nasr made her statements at the opening of the third Silk Road Forum, which is being held in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

The Silk Road Forum, held every two years, was launched in 2015 as an international platform for high-level dialogue among policy-makers, enterprises, and community leaders to discuss issues related to trade.

Nasr said that Egypt is a key focal point in the Belt & Road Initiative due to its strategic and geographical position and its huge market

She said that the country has an investment climate conducive for more participation by the private sector in its mega-projects, such as Suez Canal development, and the under-construction New Administrative Capital and New Alamein City.

“Egypt’s mega-projects, especially in infrastructure, enhance investment and trade among countries all over the world, especially given that Egypt is working now on port improvement in the Red Sea and the Suez Canal in particular, which will have a positive impact on supporting exchangeable trade between East and West,” she said.

These efforts will also boost digital transformation and electronic links significantly, Nasr said.

Belt & Road countries can benefit from Egypt’s geographical position as the gateway to a significant regional market that involves 200 million African consumers, she said.

The Belt & Road Initiative is a multibillion-dollar Chinese infrastructure development programme that includes projects in countries around the world, with the aim of improving road and maritime connectivity.

The minister said:

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), which was signed in July, will deepen the venture, commercial, and economic ties off the biggest regional trade bloc in the world, with 54 countries

She said that Egypt’s participation in the Silk Road Forum reflects a strong partnership with the countries that are located on the silk road, and its commitment to expand cooperation with all international partners.

Nasr also called on Georgian investors to increase their investments in Egypt which currently amounts to $835 million in the agriculture, tourism, services, and construction sectors.