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Egypt courts Senegal to counter Turkey influence in West Africa

January 13, 2021 at 2:55 pm

A supporter waves the Senegalese national flag on 14 July 2019 [SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images]

Egypt is seeking closer ties with Senegal in an attempt to counter Turkey’s expansion in West Africa, reports Al-Monitor.

Egypt is organising a visit to Senegal to discuss deepening agriculture and infrastructure projects in the context of “historical and fraternal ties between the African brothers,” according to a member of Egypt’s African Affairs Committee.

Last year, Egypt was pushing for joint cooperation between the two countries in water and sanitation projects.

The two countries have also discussed the trade of textiles, construction equipment, carpets and furniture and boosting Egyptian investment in tourism and solar energy.

According to Al-Monitor, this strengthening relationship comes after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu visited Dakar ahead of a new Turkish embassy set to be built in the Senegalese capital.

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Turkish trade exchange with Senegal is set to be raised to $400 million, from $250 million in 2019, as Turkey moves to cement ties with West Africa through humanitarian aid, politics and economics.

Senegalese President Macky Sall has said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a friend, and that Turkey has played a vital role in building infrastructure in his country.

Turkey has distributed medical aid, masks and sterilisers to help Senegal stem the spread of coronavirus.

Egypt is a key member of the US-backed, Saudi-UAE camp which opposes Qatar and Turkey partly because they look favourably on the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt and Turkey have also locked horns over Libya and natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Egypt has attempted to counter Turkey’s influence across the wider region, including in Lebanon where the government sent several plane loads of medical aid following the Beirut port explosion last summer.