I am delighted to have had the opportunity to see at first hand, with Egypt's First Lady, what has been accomplished here in such a short time - both in building the campus and in building the student population.

Mrs Mubarak, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I cannot tell you how pleased I am to be here this morning, in this splendid new British University in Egypt. I so enjoyed listening to some of the students earlier who were brave enough to stand up in front of everyone and describe some of the thinking of someone I happen to have the greatest admiration for, Sir Lawrence Vanderpost, who then became my eldest son's godfather so I was pleased to see that he has not been forgotten.

I am delighted to have had the opportunity to see at first hand, with Egypt's First Lady, what has been accomplished here in such a short time - both in building the campus and in building the student population.

From an idea discussed between the British and Egyptian Prime Ministers in 1998, we how have a University here in Egypt which will provide high quality British university education. I feel sure that graduates from here, with United Kingdom-quality degrees, will be attractive to Egyptian employers and will play an important part in this country's future. I would like to pay tribute to all those who have contributed to this achievement: the Egyptian British Business Council; the Ministry of Higher Education; the Board of Trustees under the energetic leadership of Farid Khamis; President Mostafa el-Fiki and his staff; and the British Council and British Embassy.

It is a particular pleasure to see the British partners of the British University in Egypt here today. Loughborough University has, I know, played a crucial role at all levels in this venture. Those links to the United Kingdom, with Loughborough and with others, including the planned co-operation with Exeter University for an Arab and Islamic Studies Centre here, will, I'm sure, enable the delivery of the top quality education for which British Universities are renowned around the world.

Yesterday I attended a discussion in the British Embassy led by the British Council and my International Business Leaders' Forum. We talked about the importance of preparing Egypt's young people as thoroughly as possible for productive working lives - a responsibility shared by those in education and those in business. Britain, I understand, remains the largest non-Arab investor in Egypt. I know from what the representatives of the major British companies investing in Egypt told me yesterday that they will see the British University in Egypt, its staff and, in particular, its students, as important partners in the years ahead as they work together.

I feel certain that, with such a strong base of support – in business here and with Universities in Britain – this University will in time become a beacon of educational excellence for Egypt and for the region. I can only congratulate those who have made this dream possible, and wish every encouragement to all those who work and study here.