A range of economic indicators are significantly picking up, said Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, adding, “the timing of the CFA Institute’s Middle East Investment Conference today is perfect, and I am honoured that the conference is held under the auspices of the Investment and International Cooperation Ministry.”
Nasr said at the conference, on Tuesday, that Egypt is ambitiously implementing its economic reform programme, aiming to reposition the country as a global destination on the world map.
She said that improving the investment climate is one of the key pillars of the programme, replying to a question from moderator Gary Baker, CFA Institute managing director for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, regarding the Egyptian government’s efforts towards repositioning the country.
The minister also added that the ministry offered various incentives for investing in specific sectors and in some areas, through the new Investment Law, to boost investments.
“We care so much about growth and creating jobs depending on national resources in many fields such as gas and oil,” she said, adding that Egypt is implementing an ambitious plan in the field of renewable energy, a field she said has great potential.
Furthermore, Nasr said that the ministry is not worried about increasing investments in the sector of oil and gas, adding, “we are not worried at all about increasing investments in the area of oil and gas because we see the other developments in other economic sectors and the energy sector is a perfect example”.
“We are very proud of the Benban project in Aswan in Upper Egypt,” said Nasr, adding that Egypt has many investment opportunities depending on the consumer market, which includes 100 million people, and investors can benefit from African economic agreements.
Additionally, Nasr mentioned that the market faced many challenges a year ago, but after the enhancement of the regulatory climate, market confidence improved.
The minister added that she holds numerous meetings with various investors who are looking to invest in the Egyptian market, adding, “the bulk of FDIs are coming from the UK and the US.”
Also, Nasr said that Egypt and Asian countries have a lot of cooperation opportunities, especially with China because of the, One Belt One Road Initiative, adding, “a lot of Chinese investors are discussing different deals in the market right now.”
Nasr noted that the field of construction is one of the priorities because many investors are interested in the New Administrative Capital and other new cities, adding that the Ministry of Housing focuses on building integrated communities with full services, not only on creating new cities.
“I am optimistic by nature,” Nasr said, adding that with the help of her team, many achievements have been made to enhance the confidence of investors. She also said that the ministry supports enhancing productivity projects.
Nasr emphasised that the ministry focuses on startup projects, adding, “there are a lot of small projects that we support, in Upper Egypt and other places, because they often do not have the access of meeting governmental officials, so I try my best to support and meet them.”
After the floatation of the pound, Egypt became more attractive due to low labour costs, said Nasr, adding, “I meet with different businesspersons and I feel the change. However, we are at the very beginning of repositioning Egypt.”
“Being in the policymaking position is challenging, but I am very interested because I am benefiting from past experiences as a World Bank staff member,” said Nasr, replying to a question from the session’s moderator, Baker.
The 2018 Middle East Investment Conference brings together over 300 international thought leaders, policymakers, industry experts, and key market participants from across the MENA region for a day of discussions about trends shaping Egypt and the wider region.