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November 19, 2014

JICA President Tanaka Visits Egypt

photoPrime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, right, and JICA President Akihiko Tanaka hold a discussion.
photoThe Grand Egyptian Museum construction site. A pyramid towers to the right in the distance.
photoTanaka listens to an explanation of the work to restore the treasures of Tutankhamun at the Conservation Center in the Grand Egyptian Museum.
photoTanaka listens to a description of how equipment supplied by Japan has been put to use at Cairo University Specialized Pediatric Hospital.

For the first time since assuming office, JICA President Akihiko Tanaka visited Egypt from November 8 to 10. During his visit, he held talks with dignitaries, including Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, and visited the sites of JICA cooperation projects such as the Grand Egyptian Museum Construction Project.

On November 9, Tanaka met with Mahlab along with Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Finance Hany Kadry Demian and Minister of International Cooperation Naglaa El-Ahwani, announcing that JICA would provide steady support for stability and development in Egypt, which is the core of regional stability though surrounded by countries with fragile conditions. Discussions focused on maintaining assistance in the fields of transportation, energy and industrial human resource development toward tackling issues such as recovery from the economic downturn following the political turmoil in January 2011 and July 2013, and ensuring employment which was one of the backgrounds in the political turmoil. From a perspective of protecting the socially vulnerable, the importance of implementing measures in the health and agriculture sectors was also highlighted.

Immediately after arriving on November 8, Tanaka visited the construction site of the Grand Egyptian Museum supported by Japanese ODA loan, as well as the Conservation Center in the Grand Egyptian Museum where technical cooperation is being provided for the preservation and restoration of archaeological artifacts intended for display at the museum. In talks with Minister of State of Antiquities Mamdouh El-Damaty the following day, Tanaka and El-Damaty discussed the necessity for a world-class exhibit and management, and how to prepare for more than 50,000 archaeological artifacts, including the mask of Tutankhamun, that are slated for display at the Grand Egyptian Museum.

JICA currently provides support for the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology (E-JUST) to improve the level of science and engineering education in Egypt. On November 8, Tanaka and E-JUST Chairperson of the Board of Trustees Fayza Aboulnaga and E-JUST President Ahmed El-Gohary mutually confirmed that E-JUST is a symbolic project of the friendship between Japan and Egypt in which the experience and knowledge of top Japanese engineering universities are utilized to support industrial human resource development in the Middle East and Africa with Egypt as a base, and the need to expedite the E-JUST project with steady support.

Other JICA project sites Tanaka visited include the excavation and restoration site of the second Solar Boat, and Cairo University Specialized Pediatric Hospital. Tanaka also explained the purpose and accomplishments of this visit to the Egyptian media as well as Japanese media based in Cairo, and held an exchange of opinions.

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