During his first visit to Brazil, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Thursday stressed his country’s desire to cooperate with the leading South American nation in the military and transport sectors, according to a statement issued by the presidency.
During a visit to the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo, Morsi addressed members of the Egyptian-Brazilian business forum, saying that Brazil stood “at the top of the list” of countries from which Egypt hoped to learn regarding development issues.
According to the presidency’s Thursday statement, cooperation between the two countries could be seen as a “gateway” for Brazilian investment in the Middle East and Africa, as well as a gateway for Egyptian products entering Latin America.
The president also said that future economic cooperation would be aided by a planned free trade agreement with Latin America’s Mercosur trade bloc.
Morsi asserted that his government was taking “serious steps” towards removing all obstacles that stand in the way of foreign investment – especially Brazilian – in Egypt, and was striving to create a “friendly” investment environment.
Morsi’s visit to São Paulo, Brazil’s financial and economic capital, rounds off the president’s tour of the so-called ‘BRICS’ countries, which also saw him visit Russia, India, China and South Africa in recent months.
The trip represents the first such visit by an Egyptian president to Brazil.
Morsi’s Brazil visit comes at a difficult time for Egypt’s economy, which is plagued by a widening budget deficit and plummeting foreign currency reserves, in addition to difficulties associated with securing a $4.8 billion IMF loan.
According to government sources, Egypt is not seeking loans from Brazil but is rather focusing on luring Brazilian investors.