Croatian companies are showing great interest in the Egyptian market, which can be the gate to a market of close to one billion people, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said at the start of a two-day visit to the most populous Arab country.
A country with which Croatia has traditionally friendly relations, based on long-lasting understanding and partnership, Egypt is one of the most important economic partners to Croatia not only in Africa but in the Middle East as well, the minister said.
"Egypt has good relations with the Arab world, offering access to a market of nearly one billion people, which enables companies doing business with Egypt to focus on wider regional markets," he said.
Grlić Radman sees possibilities for cooperation in the oil and wood-processing industries, energy, shipbuilding, defence industry and infrastructure works.
The minister started his visit to Egypt by paying tribute at the Croatian memorial cemetery in El Shatt, the place where almost 30,000 Croats, mostly from Dalmatia, the Dalmatian hinterland and islands, were evacuated to during World War II.
"856 of them died here and that is why we laid wreaths and lit candles for them today," said the minister.
He also visited the Suez Canal, an economically very important zone that attracts important investments.
The delegation accompanying Grlić Radman includes business people and economists.
A Croatian-Egyptian business forum is to be held on Wednesday, with more than 120 business people attending, and the event will be opened by Grlić Radman and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry.
The minister highlighted a project involving mineral sand refinement technology, which a Croatian company is preparing in cooperation with the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development and an Egyptian partner.
Cooperation with Egypt is important to Croatia also because of Egypt's relations with the European Union and membership in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, Grlić Radman said.