By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Egyptian Ambassador to Mexico Yasser Morad and his wife Ghada Alsahsah hosted a diplomatic reception and buffet lunch of North African cuisine at their Bosques de Chapultepec residence on Tuesday, July 23, to mark the 67th anniversary of their country’s national day.
In a brief speech before the lunch was served, Morad spoke about the cultural and historic bonds that have traditionally united Egypt and Mexico, stressing that the countries share a “strategic” alliance that reflects their mutual regional influence.
He also spoke about the 60th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties, which both countries celebrated last year with a series of artistic and cultural exchanges.
Morad said that both Egypt and Mexico are kindred countries that have taken up leadership roles as members of the “soft power” nations that balance out the ”hard power” of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.
Notwithstanding their joint efforts in promoting common goals within international forums, bilateral trade between Mexico and Egypt has remained relatively low, about $135 million in 2018.
Egypt’s main exports to Mexico include urea, car parts, cotton and textiles, while the bulk of Mexican sales to Egypt fall into the categories of gas and oil casing tubes, metal cylinders, sesame seeds and tequila.
Still, Egypt is Mexico’s third-largest trading partner in Africa, and Mexican multinational companies such as Cemex, Gruma, KidZania, Rotplas and Sukarne have holdings in Egypt amounting to about $1 billion.
Egypt’s national day commemorates the July 23, 1952, revolution, during which a movement of Egyptian military officers ousted King Farouk I, the 10th ruler of Egypt from Muhammad Ali dynasty, declaring the country a republic.
Led by Gamal Abdel Nasser, the revolution was primarily aimed at ousting the last remnants of British occupation and rooting out political corruption, as well as improving the social conditions of Egypt’s people.
A republican government was proclaimed nearly a year later with Mohammad Naguib becoming Egypt’s first premier and president.
Before the revolution, most of the North African nation’s wealth was concentrated in the hands of a privileged elite that represented less than .5 percent of the population.
In contrast, nearly all other Egyptians lived in abject poverty with little or no access to public education or basic social services.
Today, however, Egypt has free public education and over 71 percent the republic’s 101 million people are fully literate.
Egypt has also taken a leadership role in helping to find a lasting solution to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.