By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Egyptian Ambassador to Mexico Klaled Abdelrahaman Abdellatif Shamaa and his wife Radwa Abd el Aziz hosted a diplomatic reception at their Bosques de Chapultepec residence on Tuesday, July 19, to commemorate the anniversary of the 1952 military coup that led to the end of the Egyptian monarchy and the birth of the modern republic.
In a brief speech, Shamaa pointed out that the occasion also marked the 64th anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic ties between Egypt and Mexico, although, in fact, the bilateral relationship began in 1905, when Mexico first opened an honorary consulate in Alexandria to assist Mexican ships using the Suez Canal.
Shamaa also spoke about the cultural and historic bonds that have traditionally united Egypt and Mexico.
“Culture has always held an important place in both of our nations,” Shamaa said. “We have a rich heritage and we share a dynamic cultural presence.”
By the same token, Shamaa said that binational cooperation in trade and investment are also expanding.
“I am very pleased that our relations are continuing to move forward and are broadening in many diverse fields, including on the investment and commercial fronts,” he said.
Combined two-way trade between the countries currently amounts to nearly $150 million a year, making Egypt Mexico’s third-largest trade partner in Africa, and by 2023, that figure is expected to top $200 million.
In terms of investment, accumulated Mexican capital holdings in Egypt now total more than $1 billion, led by the northern Mexican cement giant Cementos Mexicanos (Cemex), and while Egypt’s presence in Mexico is considerably smaller, Shamaa said that it is on the rise.
In May, Mexico and Egypt held high-level talks in Cairo on diplomatic and political issues.
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 the 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 72 percent the republic’s 102 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.