In line with what the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA), was used to, that the main theme of its annual conference each year is in line with the central issues that are the main focus of Egypt's foreign policy and its current and future dimensions, which widens to include the regional and international situations that interact with this issue.
In this context, ECFA held its annual conference on the 23rd-24th of December 2017 under the title "Egyptian-African Relations ... Towards New Horizons", which was discussed in six sessions. Its various aspects covered the several tracks of Egyptian-African relations. Through 22 research papers, it was co-sponsored by a group of diplomats, experts and researchers specializing in African affairs. In this context, the agenda of the conference focused on the Egyptian-African relations, including the African dimension in Egypt's foreign policy, its relations with the Nile Basin countries and Egypt's water security, as well as Egypt's relations with regional powers.
In light of the security challenges that have become the main challenge to the development plans pursued by the Black Continent and its poor peoples, the security pillar in the (Egyptian-African relations) has been strongly present on the conference agenda through several research papers on all threats and common security challenges (terrorism, migration, human trafficking refugees); especially in areas with a direct impact on Egypt's national security, particularly the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea. This is in addition to trying to highlight the common ground of cooperation that can be the starting point of the Egyptian role, especially in the field of African peace and security.
The issues discussed by the research papers and the discussions at the annual conference of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs varied to include many issues related to the title of the conference on "Egyptian-African Relations ... Towards New Horizons" between political, economic and development issues in various dimensions, and media between Egypt and African countries, and other issues of concern to the present and future of Africa. 33 personalities from the experts and specialists in the issues presented with working papers that varied between the different aspects related to the title of the conference concerning the African affairs in all its political, economic and development dimensions, as well as related to the maintenance of peace, security and stability of the continent countries, cooperation and coordination in dealing with the security challenges participated in the Conference sessions.
The development dimension and the economic axis were part of the focus of the sessions, as part of the efforts to enhance the movement of the Egyptian role. The economic and trade opportunities that the cooperation partnerships between Egypt and the continent will discuss are examined through monitoring the current reality of Egypt-Africa relations, East Africa, and opportunities for industrial cooperation with the continent, in addition to evaluating the tools of Egyptian development work in Africa and ways to modernize them through the Egyptian Agency for Partnership for Development, or launching new sector-specific initiatives, in addition to the roles of the relevant ministries in this regard. Then crystallize a vision through which the Egyptian economic interests in the continent can be strengthened.
On the framework of cultural cooperation between Egypt and African countries, as one of the areas through which the Egyptian relations can be strengthened and developed in the light of some common denominators through the religious component and other cultural components. The sessions focused on reviewing the current state of cultural and media communication between Egypt and African countries, as well as the tools that rely on this communication, and then discuss ways to develop them.
In addition, three meetings were held to review several research papers, focusing on the remaining issues of Egyptian foreign policy in the continent and discussing the opportunities for enhancing the (Egyptian-African) partnerships through the collective frameworks of African institutions, and this is through discussing the Egyptian role within the framework of the African Union (The Peace and Security Council, the peer mechanism, the mechanism of the wise men of Africa, African governance, the African Parliament) and its response to Egyptian interests.
On the international cooperation frameworks that the African environment may provide, given its geopolitical importance, with the international partners in different countries of the world, which will have implications for the relations (Egyptian - African) especially if these partnerships are in a competitive framework with the Egyptian role on the spheres of influence on the continent, and then focus on most of these partnerships, including partnerships such as (the European, Asian and Middle Eastern), as well as addressing some of the roles of regional and international powers that affect Egypt's interests in the continent (specifically its water security), such as Turkish, Iranian, Israeli and American roles. Then try to determine the dimensions of these roles and backgrounds of interest, and work to develop a vision of the Arab move towards these movements that affect his interests.