The British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) has organised on Wednesday a special event in honour of H.E. Sir Geoffrey Adams, the newly-appointed UK Ambassador to Cairo.
Adams was appointed as the UK Ambassador to Egypt last September in succession to Mr. John Cassson.
Speaking at the event, the UK ambassador asserted that he was really glad to be in Egypt, despite the fact that he was supposed to finally retire after his latest diplomatic service in The Hague. He said when he was notified of another new diplomatic mission, he rejected the idea first then immediately approved it when he knew he would be in Egypt.
Adams said he “chose to be here” as Cairo brings good memories for him. He first visited Cairo in 1973, when his father served as the UK ambassador to Cairo from 1973 until 1976, which was in fact his last diplomatic mission as well.
The UK ambassador stressed the importance of “making connections and encouraging connections” to look for ways to strengthen relations between the two countries. That is why Adams said he met on Tuesday with Egyptian Minister of Finance Mohamed Maiet to discuss BEBA’s preparations for the anticipated mission to the UK, which will take place on November 27-30.
Adams explained that he would be in London during the Egyptian mission’s visit to work on strengthening both political and economic relations between the two countries, commending BEBA’s role and efforts as “flourishing and growing”.
He described the relation between Egypt and UK as “complementary” since his country imports fruits and vegetables in exchange for exporting services in various sectors, such as insurance, fintech, counseling, legal, etc. Therefore, Adams expected that the two countries may reach a new deal in regards to exchanging goods for services.
Adams said the Egyptian products and goods are welcome in the UK market.
Furthermore, the UK ambassador emphasised that the cooperation between Egypt and UK in health sector has never failed him, and he is optimistic to witness more in the coming period. He hinted about UK reaching an agreement or a free trade deal with Egypt in the coming period.
About the natural gas business, Adams said Egypt has great potential and presence as such industry is growing and soon the country will export to the region and become a global hub for two reasons. The first reason he said is Egypt’s unique geographic location, while the second is its trade relations with key economic blocks such as COMESA and with multinational companies working in exploring new gas fields in the country.
“Egypt is a place of opportunity of businesses … it is really an interesting emerging market,” Adams said, adding that the country is concentrating on developing its human capital by investing in entrepreneurship sector.
For tourism, Adams said the industry is significantly improving in Egypt, explaining that the the number of flights to the country is growing not just from UK but from other countries worldwide. He added that the number of UK flights to Egypt reached 51.
Talking about investment climate in Egypt, Adams said the country has a very attractive package, such as the low costs. Low prices are considered attractive for foreign investors in comparison to other markets, he clarified.
The UK ambassador said authorities in Egypt are doing a great job in promoting investment and doing business. Yet when asked about obstacles that might make British investors refrain from investing in Egypt, Adams said the customs arrangements can “sometimes be challenging.”
About the Brexit, Adams said he is optimistic that a deal to leave the EU will be completed soon. Britain will face a difficult transitional period in the beginning after leaving the EU until it reaches an agreement with each EU country and worldwide.
He also said he sees Brexit as an opportunity for UK to explore and reach new agreements based on its market needs.
The UK ambassador concluded his remarks saying he prefers to be “quite cautious” while engaging in social network activities, since they can bring some risks. He explained that he would stick to his mission and goal, which is promoting relationship between Egypt and UK.
From his side, Dr. Khaled Nosseir, BEBA’s chairman, said his association prepares to send its annual mission to the UK at the end of the current month, from -November 27-30.
The mission will work on both business and investment promotional levels. It will meet with UK leaderships to discuss business cooperation between Egyptian and British companies as well as promote investment opportunities in Egypt, Nosseir stated.
About the visit, BEBA’s chairman said the mission would first head to Manchester to explore investment opportunities in oil and gas sectors, then to Liverpool to meet with the chamber of commerce officials and discuss cooperation in transport sector. It will finally head to London to discuss cooperation in various sectors, such as educational and ongoing giant national projects in Egypt, he added.
Moreover, Nosseir made a brief about the new UK ambassador’s 39-year rich career.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Khaled Nosseir, Chairman of British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA), said the association prepares to send its annual mission to the UK at the end of the current month, from -November 27-30. The mission will work on both business and investment promotional levels. It will meet with UK leaderships to discuss business cooperation between Egyptian and British companies as well as promote investment opportunities in Egypt, Nosseir said.
In addition, Mr. Nosseir made a brief introduction to the new UK ambassador’s 39-year rich career.
In 1979, Sir Adams started his British Diplomatic Service. He has been in diplomatic postings overseas in Saudi Arabia, France, South Africa and Egypt. He served as Deputy Head of Mission from 1998 until 2001.
He was the British Consul-General in Jerusalem from 2001 to 2003, before joining the Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary. He served as Ambassador to Iran 2006–2009 and Director-General, Political at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) 2009–2012. In September 2013 he took up the post of Ambassador to the Netherlands, and concurrently Permanent Representative to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons which is based in The Hague, the Netherlands. He also worked at ÉcoleNationaled’Administration in Paris from 1985-1987.