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In a bid to fix its economy after 18 months of political unrest, Egypt is trying to attract more Chinese investment into the country.
"Now is a challenging time for Egypt's economy," said Osama Saleh, Egyptian minister of investment. "We need to put the economy back on the right track."
Saleh made the remarks during a visit to Beijing on Tuesday, accompanied by a delegation of 80 Egyptian business people who were drawn from the country's key economic sectors such as energy, tourism and transport.
The trip coincides with President Mohamed Morsi's first visit to China.
Egyptian Investment Minister Saleh said more Chinese investment is expected to flow into sectors including solar energy, infrastructure, agriculture and tourism, which will help create more jobs in Egypt while providing Egyptian companies with access to China's know-how in these areas.
Chinese companies can make use of Egypt's geological position and trade agreements with neighboring regions to gain market access to the Europe Union, the United States and African countries, Saleh added.
With a total of 1,133 Chinese companies operating in Egypt, China's investment stood at $500 million in 2011, far behind Egypt's major investors Saudi Arabia and the US.
"China's current investment volume in Egypt is very small. It should be among the top three," Saleh said.
Chinese companies are also optimistic about investment prospects in Egypt and as the country gradually gains stability under the new government, many think it is time to resume projects interrupted by the political uprising.
"The time is ripe for our return," said Teresa Qin, senior project manager at the Investment and Development Division of Shanghai-based China Shipping Terminal Development Co.
Qin's company invested in a port project in Egypt in 2007. Construction of the project was suspended when the unrest erupted and has not yet restarted.