The Outer

Interview| Lithuanian Minister of Transport: Egypt is the gateway to Africa and an important economic force in the Middle East

By Manal El Warraky

Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skudis said that Egypt is Lithuania’s gateway to the Middle East and Africa region, stressing his country’s keenness to enhance cooperation with it in the fields of maritime and air transport and information and communications technology.

This came during an interview he conducted with a limited number of journalists at a round table at the headquarters of the Lithuanian Embassy in Egypt, in the presence of Ambassador Arturas Gailionas, Vilnius’ Ambassador to Cairo, and to the text of the dialogue…

Tell us about your current visit to Cairo? What are the most prominent goals that you seek to achieve through it?
This is not my first visit to Cairo, but it is my third, which aims to discuss ways of joint cooperation with Egyptian officials in various fields of transportation.

During which I will hold discussions with the Minister of Transport, Kamel Al-Wazir, the Minister of Civil Aviation, Mohamed Abbas Helmy, and the Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Amr Talaat, to enhance ways of cooperation in the fields of maritime and air transport, and information and communications technology.

I will also work on discussing the final details of the two memorandums of understanding in the fields of maritime transport and operating a direct airline between the two countries, which will be signed at a later stage. I will also visit the port of Alexandria.

What is the purpose of visiting Alexandria Port during your current visit to Egypt?
During my current visit, which will last three days, I will visit the Port of Alexandria, to discuss ways of cooperation between the Lithuanian Port of Qalaipeda and the Port of Alexandria.

The Lithuanian port has a pivotal position in the Ukrainian grain export process in light of the repercussions of the Russian-Ukrainian war, and the movement of transport, logistics and services to the port of Qalypida represents 1% of the country’s gross domestic product.

How would you describe the current state of Egyptian-Lithuanian relations?
The volume of trade exchange between Egypt and Lithuania reached 144 million euros last year, while Lithuania seeks to enhance bilateral cooperation with Egypt, and also to establish projects between Lithuanian and Egyptian companies, as Egypt is an important economic power in the Middle East.

Lithuania is looking forward to enhancing cooperation opportunities with Egypt in the field of transport and logistics services, such as identifying paths to reduce the cost of maritime transport for exporting goods to the two countries, including the path of a railway line and ports in neighboring countries to reach Egyptian ports.

..Why does Lithuania seek to strengthen relations with Cairo?
Lithuania has great potential for economic and investment cooperation, as it ranked 17th in the world in terms of economic freedom, sixth in terms of the cybersecurity index, and sixth in terms of the tax competitiveness index among 38 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and also possesses skilled workers, advanced infrastructure, and a strong digital infrastructure. Tax incentives and shared service centres.

There is great importance in opening communication channels between Lithuania and Egypt, in light of Egypt’s strategic geographical location in the Middle East and Africa.

What are the most prominent areas of bilateral cooperation between Lithuania and Egypt?
There are great possibilities for the exchange of goods between the two countries, especially vegetables, fruits and fertilizers from Egypt. While Lithuania can export grains, fertilizers, information and communications technology and services to Egypt, Lithuania opens new routes for transporting grains from Ukraine to other countries.

Lithuanian ICT companies also need skilled workers, as there is great potential to open branches in Egypt, while there is also a need to establish a communications network between business organizations in both countries. With the aim of supporting joint cooperation.

We have also developed a strategy towards green transformation, which includes expanding new and renewable energy, hydrogen production, and exporting green energy by 2030, as there is great potential for cooperation in the field of hydrogen with Egypt.

What about tourism between the two countries? Is it back to how it was?
The number of Lithuanian tourists who visited Egypt reached 154,000, at a time when Lithuania seeks to enhance tourism in both directions by operating regular flights, and also attracting Egyptian tourists, especially in the field of health and therapeutic resorts.

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