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20 Feb, 2024 14:37

Egypt wants to host Russian wheat hub

Moscow is reviewing the proposed project, Cairo’s Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade has said
Egypt wants to host Russian wheat hub

Egypt and Russia are in talks about establishing a logistics center in the Suez Canal zone for storing wheat supplies from Moscow, Sputnik reported on Monday, citing the North African nation’s Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade.

Cairo, which counts Moscow as its major grain supplier, had previously said creating a hub along the Suez trade route would facilitate Russian wheat exports to Egypt’s neighbors. The Suez Canal is an artificial waterway in Egypt that connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, shortening global trade routes.

Last August, Egypt’s General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) announced its willingness to re-export Russian wheat to third countries, including those in the Arab region as well as North and East Africa, if the proposed Suez Canal logistics distribution center is built.

On Monday, the Egyptian trade ministry reported that a series of meetings have taken place between the two sides, with Russian representatives agreeing to study the project.

Egypt, which officially joined the BRICS+ economic bloc in January, is one of the world’s leading wheat importers and Russia’s largest grain buyer. Cairo bought 2.031 million tons from Moscow during the first three months of the 2023–2024 crop year (July–September). The total amount of wheat contracted by Cairo last December also amounted to 1.02 million tons, according to the Russian trade mission in Egypt.

Earlier last year, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry announced that his country was looking forward to increasing imports of grain from Russia, citing it as one of the priorities of bilateral relations.

The Ukraine conflict, along with Western sanctions on Russian shipping and financial transactions, has triggered a shortage of grain in Africa, along with a sharp increase in costs. Moscow has pledged to provide free food to a number of African countries as part of an agreement announced by President Vladimir Putin at the second Russia-Africa summit last summer.

Last month, Burkina Faso received 25,000 tons of free Russian wheat, becoming the latest African country to take delivery of the humanitarian shipments under the arrangement, which was put in place after Moscow refused to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative.