Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi kicked off on Tuesday an African tour that includes Angola, Zambia, and Mozambique.
Sisi will participate in the 22nd summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), during which the rotating chairmanship will be handed over from Egypt to Zambia.
Presidential spokesman Ahmed Fahmy said Sisi's tour comes within Egypt's keenness to intensify communication and coordination with African nations.
Fahmy indicated that the visits aim to boost Egyptian relations with the countries in various fields, especially by strengthening cooperation at economic, trade, and investment levels. The tour addresses the advanced priority accorded to African issues in Egyptian foreign policy.
Observers told Asharq Al-Awsat that the tour is geopolitically important to Cairo and opens a new horizon for Egyptian diplomacy in southern Africa.
They added that it focuses on boosting bilateral cooperation, dealing with the continent's concerns, and discussing regional developments.
Egypt has intensified its diplomatic activity in Africa in the last ten years.
According to an official report by the Egyptian State Information Service, African countries accounted for more than 30 percent of all presidential visits in recent years.
During the past year, Sisi participated in several summits concerned with Africa, including the US-Africa Leaders' Summit in Washington and the 6th session of the AU-EU Summit between the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) in Brussels.
Ambassador Ali al-Hefny described Sisi's current tour as "extremely important," explaining that it targets several countries in southern Africa that were given less priority in Egyptian foreign policy than other regions.
The former official stressed the importance of presidential visits to African countries, pointing out that they represent Egypt's keenness to communicate with them at the highest levels.
Zambia and Angola boast promising opportunities to work with Egypt at the official level and with the business community, he went on to say.
In 2019, Egypt chaired the AU, launching several cooperation initiatives, including the "Silencing the Guns" initiative to reduce armed conflicts in Africa.
It also launched the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development to act as an African platform to discuss various threats and challenges facing the continent.
Egypt participates in a group of major continental projects, especially in transportation linking the continent's northern and southern ends through the river navigation corridor between Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean Sea.
Expert in African affairs Rami Zuhdi said Sisi's visit has promising economic potential, especially in mining and oil production.
Zuhdi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the tour has "geopolitical" importance, which "opens new horizons for Egyptian diplomacy."
He indicated that revitalizing Egypt's role in COMESA is essential for boosting its presence in the continent.
Egypt is seeking to consolidate its African presence by adopting a set of cooperation, trade, and cultural exchange programs.
Last month, it hosted the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group with the participation of central bank governors, finance ministers, and officials representing the 81 member countries.
Egypt is the third largest economy in Africa in terms of GDP after Nigeria and South Africa.
Cairo and Ethiopia account for about 63 percent of the total foreign direct investment within the COMESA group in the petroleum, services, and manufacturing sectors.