On January 15, Alyaksandr Lukashenka arrived in Egypt on a three-day official visit. Today he is meeting with Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and taking part in the Belarusian-Egyptian business forum. Then the Belarusian leader is expected to head for Sudan. Will his trips bring any benefits to Belarus?
“In Egypt, Belarusian tractors are made there, and the production is said to be boosted, or already have been boosted, and there will be new productions. But at that level a visit of a minister ot even Tractor Plant CEO would be enough,” economist Leu Marholin told Belsat TV.
As for Sudan, the mutual trade peaked at $70 mln in 2013 – at the expense of the Belarusian export – and then collapsed twice. So, by all appearances, one should not expect any extraordinary results of the visits. Ordinary Belarusians also share the opinion and even suggest that Lukashenka wanted to have a rest in exotic countries:
“Well, his job is stressful, I guess. Perhaps he is having a rest,” a Minsker told Belsat.
“Taking into account our milk and sugar wars with Russia, he must be looking for new markets,” another man said.
Meanwhile, it is his closest ally whom Lukashenka is not flying to meet with. In late December, the Belarusian leader excused himself by and ignored the EAEC summit in St. Petersburg, in the course of which the countries signed the Customs Code of the interstate association. And Lukashenka’s first foreign visit in 2017 was made not to our eastern neighbour.
“It would probably be illogical – not showing up at the summit in December and then hunting for Putin at Russian resorts, that is why he has failed to go there,” Marholin believes.
By the moment, Belarus and Egypt signed a dozen of documents. According to Minsk, in particular, Egypt is ready to approve the contract for waste water purification. However, the contract amount is only $3 mln.