Catch the caravan to Cairo! That’s the economic message which controversial commentator, Dr John Coulter, outlines in his Fearless Flying Column today. He maintains that a Cairo Celtic Alliance is one of the platforms needed to combat the Brexit ‘blues’.
In spite of being a staunch Euro skeptic throughout all my journalistic career, us Brexiteers need to deliver the goods once the United Kingdom quits the European Union in 2019, and one method is to establish a Cairo Celtic Alliance (CCA) with Egypt.
Already, the renowned Egyptian Society of Northern Ireland has been making impressive strides to foster links between the North and Egypt and such a CCA would be a tremendous building block to secure the Northern Ireland economy post Brexit – and lay a firm foundation for the next campaign to persuade the Republic to follow the UK out of the EU.
The list of those from the Egyptian business community who have recently visited the North clearly emphasises how economically lucrative the island is becoming to the Egyptian market.
According to the Egyptian Society of Northern Ireland, the visitors have included Mr Osama Toema, the senior advisor to Minister Sahar Nasr, the Minister of Investment and International Co-operation and the head of promotion at GAFI. This is a success story which it would like to implement in Northern Ireland.
GAFI Egypt is looking to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Irish investment authority. Also visiting was Mr Ali El Halabi, the Managing Director of Cairo Airport Travel. He is looking to meet with companies for joint ventures, agencies and technology transfer.
Could this be the perfect platform for Northern Ireland firms to provide services for Egyptian airports? Are there companies in the North who deal with GPS or speed limit control, provide services to airports, or managing airport parking who could benefit from a joint venture with Egypt?
Then there’s Mr Farag Abaza, the Chairman of African Trade, which is one of the leading trading companies in Egypt and the Middle East which focuses on the needs of COMESA (Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa) countries.
Before the EU became an administrative and political nightmare, the former European Economic Community (EEC) was a perfect model for inter-state European co-operation. COMESA in collaboration with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association could form a strong platform in easing fears about the UK and Ireland post Brexit, and would lay the ideal foundation for Irexit by 2020.
Another important businessman in the delegation was Mr Mohamed Zakaria Mohyedin, the managing director of National Co. for Chemical Industries. He is seeking to meet with companies which specialise in manufacturing adhesives for industrial markets, so could Brexit witness a growth in adhesives manufacturing in Northern Ireland?
Part of the delegation also included Mr Alfred Assil, who is CEO of Mena Rail, which works in transport and logistics. He is seeking to conduct joint ventures with engineering companies, project management and operators.
The key point is that the Northern Ireland economy should be moving towards a situation where the EU needs us more than we need the EU. To achieve this post Brexit economic paradise, Northern Ireland needs to think well outside the box beyond traditional partners, such as the United States and the wider North American market. It would appear there are rich pickings for the Northern Ireland economy in Egypt and the wider Middle Eastern economy.
Ireland was always seen as being an integral part of the British Empire and to many Irish folk, ‘imperialism’ was a dirty word. But especially in Africa, there has been an unofficial Irish Empire established. This is not just a reference to the many people of Irish ancestry who have emigrated to numerous parts of the globe. The role of the so-called Irish Diaspora can never be understated, we should never forget the thousands of Christian missionaries which Ireland has sent across the world over the centuries. This is a mini empire in itself.
Even if we take Africa as a current benchmark, look at the thousands who are dying of thirst, malnutrition, and other conditions if only the former imperial nations would step back into the continent and run things again.
In this respect, I’m calling for the establishment of an Irish Empire in Africa. Yes, the CCA will work as an effective partnership in modern nations, such as Egypt.
But there are countless examples in the wider African continent where traditional tribalism post independence has got vastly out of control and corruption by tribal governments has seen thousands die in poverty and civil war.
Using the groundwork laid by Ireland’s vast former legions of Christian missionaries, the Emerald Isle could coin another phrase to be added to the modern political vocabulary – New Imperialism.
Look at the number of African states where Irish Christian missionaries have and currently work. If Ireland can send it legions of missionaries to help Africa, it can send experts in democratic politics, infrastructure, economic growth and education to rebuild and reshape those African nations ravaged by poverty and strife.
Some prophets of doom are predicting economic chaos for Ireland, north and south, once Brexit becomes a financial reality in 2019. So let’s be positive – long live Ireland’s New Imperialism and its first building block is the CCA.
John Coulter is a unionist political commentator and former Blanket columnist.
Follow John Coulter on Twitter @JohnAHCoulter