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Friends' talk | Alexandria and Guangdong will stand closely for better cooperation: Governor of Alexandria Governorate

Editor’s note: Guangdong recently awarded the “Guangdong Friendship Award” to 49 foreign friends from 23 countries, acknowledging those who have made outstanding contributions to Guangdong’s economic and social development, as well as international exchanges. GDToday presents Friends’ Talk and shares the award winners’ stories with Guangdong.

On November 20, local time, a special ceremony was held in Alexandria Governorate, Egypt. Mohamed El-Sherif, Governor of Alexandria, received the “Guangdong Friendship Award” from Chen Jianwen, Standing Committee Member of the CPC Guangdong Committee, as well as Head of the Publicity Department of CPC Guangdong Committee.

Mohamed El-Sherif, Governor of Alexandria

Located in north Egypt, Alexandria Governorate became the 100th sister province of Guangdong in 2010, which was a milestone for both regions.

The city of Alexandria

“It is a great pleasure for me to receive this valuable honour from the province of Guangdong,” said El-Sherif in an exclusive interview with GDToday.

As the only award winner in Africa, El-Sherif indicated that the award will make the two provinces stand closely for better cooperation in the future.

China’s EV technology helps Alexandria to resist global warming

Near the Mediterranean Sea, Alexandria Governorate owns the port of Alexandria, which registers 65% of Egypt’s total export-import volume. 

On November 7, the Guangzhou Port and Alexandria Port established a sister port relationship and are set to launch cooperation in opening sea lanes, building smart ports, personnel training, and more.

“I will visit the ports in Guangzhou, if I have the chance to visit Guangdong,” said the Governor. In his opinion, port cooperation is one of the most important fields for the two regions, since the province of Guangdong stands beside the sea, a similar location to Alexandria Governorate.

El-Sherif told GDToday that Alexandria Governorate owns the largest chamber of commerce in Egypt, as well as an enterprise association. Both of them can play important roles in port cooperation with Guangdong.

“We can see many cargo ships arrive in Alexandria Port every day. The port cooperation will be an important starting point for the two regions,” he stressed.

According to the government of Guangzhou, a total of 24 sea lanes from Guangzhou to Egypt have been launched. Statistics show that more than 27,425 TEU containers of goods have been shipped to Egypt from January to October this year.

“A lot of products in Egypt are coming from China,” said he. 

During the interview, the Governor showed the Chinese products he is using to GDToday’s reporter, such as pens and glasses. He said, “It is difficult for me to introduce Chinese products to you, because many products from China are being sold in Egypt.”

Not only are small items being sold in Egypt, but also big-size objects are being used by Alexandria Governorate’s people as well. 

In 2018, Alexandria Governorate imported 18 electric buses from BYD, a Chinese automobile brand headquartered in Guangdong’s Shenzhen.

El-Sherif emphasized that the technology of electric vehicles (EV) is important for Alexandria’s development, as the city of Alexandria is now facing potential risk brought by flooding, due to global warming.

In fact, flooding is not rare in the city of Alexandria, the second-largest city in Egypt. According to AFP, at least 30% of land in the city of Alexandria will be submerged by the Mediterranean Sea.

“The EV can replace natural gas and oil so that the global warming will be alleviated. In this circumstance, sea level may not rise,” said the Governor.

“I saw an EV can go 450km after charging it for 30 minutes. This is remarkable,” he stressed.

He revealed that the province has already imported 40 electric buses from China this year.

Cultural collaboration is expected to deepen understanding between people from the two provinces

On November 21, more than 20 books representing Chinese culture and Lingnan culture were donated to the Library of Alexandria from Guangdong Publishing Group, including the Arabic version of A Historical End——Global Perspectives on China’s Poverty Alleviation and World Development, The China Bridge: A Road to Fulfill the Dream of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, Poetry with Ink-and-Wash Paintings for Children, Fun Chinese Learning and the bilingual version of Chao Embroidery and more.

A book donation was held at the Library of Alexandria, November 21, 2023.

“I will set up a special area to display the Chinese books, so that people can know more about Chinese culture,” El-Sherif said. 

At present, Chinese culture is gaining popularity in Egypt. It is reported that starting in November, two middle schools in Alexandria Governorate will set Chinese courses, which can promote understanding between Egypt and China.

In addition to port cooperation, the Governor also wants to launch a series of cooperation in the field of culture, especially in art and museums. 

“A lot of students learning fine art in Alexandria are interested in Chinese culture,” he suggests that the government should enhance the communication between the universities specialized in fine art from Alexandria and Guangzhou.

“I am so excited to hear that Guangdong transferred from an agricultural society to an important trade and industrial center with a large area and population,” said the Governor. From his point of view, the development of Alexandria Governorate will be enhanced after learning experience from Guangdong.  

“The cooperation between Egypt and China, no matter in the past, present or future, will be beneficial to people in both countries,” El-Sherif concluded.

Reporters | Zeng Qiang (Nanfang Daily) and Steven Yuen reported from the city of Alexandria, Egypt.

Hannah Zhou, Rofel Ding also contribute to this article.

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