(last updated: 08.09.2010)
The Republic of Estonia and the Arab Republic of Egypt recognised each other through respective membership in the League of Nations (Estonia acceded in 1922, Egypt in 1937).
In 1927, the Estonian Consul General in Athens (and later in Istanbul) was assigned to represent Estonia’s consular interests in Egypt. In 1933, Foreign Minister August Rei appointed the Dane Anton Nyegaard Estonian Honorary Consul in Cairo (covering all of Egypt).
The Consulate in Cairo contributed to the development of Estonian-Egyptian trade relations and personal contacts. Trade between Estonia and Egypt grew by 300 to 400% in a couple of years. The Honorary Consul rendered assistance also to Estonian seamen and tourists visiting Egypt.
Egypt re-recognised the Republic of Estonia on 6 September 1991. Diplomatic relations were established on 2 January 1992.
In May 2007, the first Estonian Ambassador to Egypt, residing in Tallinn, Mrs. Tiia Miller presented her credentials to President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak.
In November 2007, Estonian Special Mission to Egypt started with the task to prepare the opening of the Embassy.
On 1 March 2010 Foreign Minister Urmas Paet opened the Estonian Embassy in Cairo, which is the first Estonian Embassy in an Arab country and on the continent of Africa.
In June 2010, Mr. Paul Teesalu was nominated as the first Estonian resident Ambassador to Egypt.
Egyptian Ambassador to Estonia Mr. Maasoum Marzouk presented his credentials in November 2007. The Ambassador resides in Helsinki.
At the beginning of the 1920s, dozens of Estonians lived in Egypt, having found themselves in Egypt following the defeat of the armies of Denikin and Wrangel in South Russia. The majority of the Estonians soon left Egypt, while some stayed in Egypt. Several female Estonian missionaries, who were part of the Egyptian General Mission established in 1898, found work and began a new life in Egypt.
At the beginning of 1925, Jaan Lattik, a clergyman and educator, and Ernst Ederberg, an architect visited Egypt. At the same period, Lattik published his travel memoirs "To the South", at first in the newspaper "Päevaleht" and thereafter as a separate book.
January 2005 - Foreign Minister Kristiina Ojuland’s visit to Egypt. The Foreign Minister visited Cairo and Alexandria. In Cairo the meetings with Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Minister of International Co-operation Faysa Aboul-Naga and Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the People’s Assembly Mustafa Alfeq took place. In Alexandria the minister paid a visit to the Library of Alexandria, met with the Director of the recently created Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for a Dialogue of Cultures and with the Governor of Alexandria.
November 2005 – Estonian Prime Minister Ansip in Barcelona at the Euromed Summit met with Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazef.
December 2007 – Prime Minister Andrus Ansip met with Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif in the framework of the EU- African Union Summit in Lisbon.
March 2009 – Foreign Minister Paet and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit met in Cairo prior to the international donors’ conference for the reconstruction of Gaza in Sharm el Sheikh.
March 2010 – Official visit of Foreign Minister Urmas Paet to Egypt, during which he opened the Estonian Embassy in Egypt.
- Agreement for economic, technical and research co-operation between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt (came into force 9 February 1999)
- Cultural co-operation memorandum between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt (signed 12 May 2004)
- Memorandum of mutual understanding for co-operation between the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Estonia and the Foreign Ministry of the Arab Republic of Egypt (came into force 24 January 2005)
The volume of trade between Estonia and Egypt has been relatively small. However, Egypt is growing market for the producers of Estonian wood and paper. Tourism offers feasible and interesting prospects for the development of economic ties between Estonia and Egypt. In 2007 more than 50 000 Estonian tourists visited Egypt. The Enterprise Estonia has its representative for Middle East and North Africa, residing on Amman, who helps to facilitate the trade and investments between Estonia and Egypt.
Estonian-Egypt trade from 2006-2009 (special trade, in millions EUR):
The main export articles in 2009 were wood and wood products as well as paper, cardboard and paper pulp; in import the main articles were paper, cardboard and paper pulp as well as fruit.
The Egyptian investments in Estonia have been made in haulage, storage, communication and in real estate, renting and business services (ensuing from the principles of data protection, numbers are not subject to be published).
Estonia has mostly made investments into Egypt’s real estate sector.
On 12 May 2004, the Memorandum of Cultural Co-operation between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt was signed in Tallinn.
Four Egyptian films were shown at the Black Nights Film Festival in 2004. The festival was also visited by the noted cameraman Ramses Mazrouk Tadros (also a jury member), film actor Khaled Mohamed Sami Abol Naga and critic Awatef Sadek Mikhail.
Estonian puppet film „The Table” (Art Directors: Jelena Girlin, Mari-Liis Bassovskaja) won the prize of the best animation film at the 9th Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentary and Short Films in Egypt on 10-17.09.2005.
The puppet film „Miriam Plays Hide-and Seek” (Director Priit Tender) participated at the 15th Cairo International Film Festival for Children on 3 - 10.03.2005 in Egypt.