Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said revealed that the government is continuing to pump more public investments to implement new projects and provide better services.
El-Said also said that public investments in Egypt rose by 70% to EGP 595bn. Her remarks came during a speech at the virtual “Egypt’s Green Economy” programme, jointly organised by the British-Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) and the Egyptian-British Chamber of Commerce.
The minister added that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis prompted a re-arrangement of the country’s priorities, which led to an increased focus on specific sectors and activities. These included education, health, communications, infrastructure, agriculture, industry and the green economy.
She pointed to a 300% increase in investments in the communications and information technology (CIT) sector as part of the fiscal year (FY) 2020/21 plan. These investments are taking place in order to create a technological and information ecosystem for the transition to the New Administrative Capital (NAC) and to automate government services.
The 2020/21 plan also emphasises a localisation of industry for major products such as pharmaceuticals, the minister said. This is through additional expansions in establishing industrial zones, and developing supply chains to hedge against unrest.
She referred to the cooperation between the Ministries of Planning and Economic Development, and Environment. This partnership aims to provide an environmental guide for all public investments to abide by sound environmental laws.
The Minister said the government is pursuing the second phase of its reform programme. This includes: implementing structural reforms targeting the formal sector to encourage inclusive growth; creating new job opportunities; diversifying and developing production patterns; and improving Egypt’s business climate, among other areas.
The minister said that the programme’s main pillars are represented in diversifying the Egyptian economy’s production structure, enhancing the private sector’s role, in addition to enhancing the flexibility and effectiveness of the labour market. This will take place through advanced technical education and training, as well as stimulating economic growth led by the private sector through partnerships.
El-Said stressed that supporting informal employment is also central to the government’s strategy, and thus a cash grant was disbursed and a database created for these workers to enable them to obtain decent jobs, noting that these measures were crucial because they enabled Egypt to be one of the very few developing economies in the midst of the crisis.
El-Said added that there are a number of promising sectors capable of adapting and interacting positively with the repercussions of the crisis. These include the IT, agriculture, construction, industrial, pharmaceutical and chemical sectors. For human capital, reliance will be placed on these sectors to support sustainable growth, while working to increase public investment in these sectors.