The African Dimension of Egyptian Foreign Policy

By Tamim K. Kashgari
2011, Vol. 3 No. 09 | pg. 2/2 |

This realization on the part of Egypt is apparent when it’s voting record in the shows a clear opposition to South Africa24. Egypt also took action on a unilateral level when in 1963 it announced the complete severing of economic and political ties as well as support the cessation of the sale of military arms and vehicles to South Africa25. These two examples of Egypt’s involvement in Africa clearly demonstrate its commitment to its African , which displays Egypt’s consciousness of its own connection to the African continent. The aggregate goodwill that Egypt has been able to build up within the continent is also a signal of the significance of Africa within Egyptian policy as this sentiment has been able to weather multiple attempts of weakening it26.

What remains now is Egypt’s commitment to create lasting peace on the continent. As was stated earlier Egypt has contributed heavily towards the interests of Africa in the past through helping to establish the Organization of African Unity and being the school and arms supplier of a good number of African liberation movements. Africa after the age of colonization is a different continent; the expulsion of Europeans has left the polity in each African state without a single uniting factor to bind them together. In some cases the lack of this factor caused groups to realize their local inequalities causing the start of civil wars that destabilize the continent. In order to cope with these new challenges facing the continent of Africa, Egypt has been forced to come up with new dynamic solutions.

The first of these transformations was the replacement of the Organization of African Unity with the African Union in 2002 which reestablished the goals of the African continent by attempting to establish a central entity to govern and police the continent as a whole. To its credit Egypt continued to shoulder much of the burden for the good of Africa by become a leading contributor towards the African Unions by providing for 15% of its annual budget27. The legacy that Egypt developed as a military in Africa has also not been lost in modern history. Its military power has in fact evolved with the times and has been used within the new international peacekeeping framework in most United Nations peacekeeping missions within the continent28.

The transformation of the global economic system after the end of the like many other contemporary issues did not leave either Africa or Egypt untouched. In order to keep the of Africa on the rise several economic organizations were formed in Africa of which Egypt joined COMESA (Common Market for East Africa and Southern Africa) and SEN-SAD (Sahel and Sahara Union)29. Here again Egypt keeps in adherence to its African foreign policy displaying its commitment and willingness to be involved in Africa.

Egypt has historically always been a part of the African continent since its establishment as an ancient civilization on the banks of the Nile. While there was a brief but somewhat whole separation from Africa due the Khedives it was firmly reinstated and institutionalized following the Free Officer coup of 1952. It was during this period where Egypt is characterized as being the leader of the Arab world and Arabism in most historical narratives completely ignoring that it was also a leader in Africa and the Pan-African cause. Egypt has bared the burden of consistently being one of the largest contributors in African multinational organization such as the UAS and AU. It has acted as the political and military base for African liberation movements from all across the continent.

Egypt has also continued to build on the recent and much deserved legacy in Africa by becoming a stabilizing force in the continent following the end of the era of colonization. All of these efforts visibly display Egypt’s commitment to the African continent, completely debasing any assumption that the African component within Egypt is something that is ignored by it. Even the ideology of Arabism which is seen as Egypt’s dominant source of influence was bent by the state itself to fit into the framework of Pan-Africanism. It is clear that Africa is not just a minor part of Egyptian foreign policy by any means. In fact, Africa is clearly a substantial part of Egyptian foreign policy and is a cornerstone of Egypt’s international affairs as a whole.


References

Abd Al-Razak, Adel. Egypt’s role in the Organization of African Unity: Analytical and Legal Studies of International Relations. Cairo: The General Egyptian Organization for Books (الهيئة المصرية العامة للكتاب), 2002.

Al-Gamal, Shawqi. The African Role of the of July 23, 1952 . Cairo: The General Egyptian Organization for Books (الهيئة المصرية العامة للكتاب), 1994.

Attia, Attia. Egypt's foreign policy in Africa with particular reference to decolonization and apartheid within the United Nations, 1952-1970. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1983.

Boutros-Ghali, Boutros. “The Foreign Policy of Egypt in the Post-Sadat Era”, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 60, No. 4 (1982): pp. 769-788.

Cleveland, William L. A History of the Modern Middle East. 3rd ed. Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 2004.

Ehteshami, Aroushiravan and Raymond Hinnebusch. The Foreign Policies of States. Boulder, Co; London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002.

Hassan, Hamdy and Ahmad Al-Rasheedy. “The Nile River and Egyptian Foreign Policy Interests”, African Sociological Review, Vol. 11, No. 1 (2007): pp. 25-37.

Heikal, Mohamed H. “Egyptian Foreign Policy”, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 56, No. 4 (1978): pp. 714-727.

Ismael, Tareq Y. The U.A.R. in Africa; Egypt's policy under Nasser. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1971.

Kameri-Mbote, Patricia. “From to Cooperation in the Management of Transboundary Waters: The Nile Experience”, International Environmental Law Research Center, accessed 09-11-2008, .

Square, Issaka K. “Egypt’s Evolving Role in Africa: A Sub-Saharan Perspective”, Institute for Security Studies, accessed 04-11- 2008, .

World Values Survey, "Four-Wave Aggregate of the Value Studies", accessed 07-11-2008, .


Endnotes

1.) "Four-Wave Aggregate of the Value Studies", World Values Survey, accessed 07-11-2008, .

2.) Hamdy Hassan and Ahmad Al-Rasheedy, “The Nile River and Egyptian Foreign Policy Interests”, African Sociological Review, Vol. 11, No. 1 (2007), pp.26-27.

3.) Patricia Kameri-Mbote. “From Conflict to Cooperation in the Management of Transboundary Waters: The Nile Experience”, International Environmental Law Research Center, accessed 09-11-2008, , p.3.

4.) Ibid, p.4.

5.) Ibid, p.6.

6.) Mohamed H. Heikal, “Egyptian Foreign Policy”, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 56, No. 4 (1978), p.716.

7.) Aroushiravan Ehteshami and Raymond Hinnebusch. The Foreign Policies of Middle East States. (Boulder, Co; London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002), p.92.

8.) William L. Cleveland. A History of the Modern Middle East. (3rd ed. Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 2004), p.95.

9.) Ibid, p.97-99.

10.) Tareq Y. Ismael. The U.A.R. in Africa; Egypt's policy under Nasser. (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1971), p.102.

11.) Ibid, p.106.

12.) Ibid, p.105.

13.) Ibid, p.105.

14.) Ibid, p.107.

15.) Shawqi Al-Gamal. The African Role of the Revolution of July 23, 1952 . (Cairo: The General Egyptian Organization for Books (الهيئة المصرية العامة للكتاب), 1994), p.101.

16.) Ibid, p.104.

17.) Ibid, p.105-107.

18.) Ibid, p.111-128, p.229-262.

19.) Adel Abd Al-Razak. Egypt’s role in the Organization of African Unity: Analytical and Legal Studies of 2002. (Cairo: The General Egyptian Organization for Books (الهيئة المصرية العامة للكتاب), 2002), p.84-91.

20.) Heikal, “Egyptian Foreign Policy”, p.718.

21.) Abd Al-Razak. Egypt’s role in the Organization of African Unity: Analytical and Legal Studies of International Relations 2002, p.106.

22.) Ibid, p.109.

23.) Attia Attia. Egypt's foreign policy in Africa with particular reference to decolonization and apartheid within the United Nations, 1952-1970. (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1983), p.195-197.

24.) Ibid, p.393.

25.) Ibid, p.404.

26.) Boutros Boutros-Ghali, “The Foreign Policy of Egypt in the Post-Sadat Era”, Foreign Affairs, Vol.60, No.4 (1982), p. 784.

27.) Issaka K. Square, “Egypt’s Evolving Role in Africa: A Sub-Saharan Perspective”, Institute for Security Studies, accessed 04-11- 2008, , p.5.

28.) Ibid, p.4.

29.) Ibid, p.6.

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