French, Italian and German delegations will study and analyse projects including in petroleum, energy and infrastructure, said Akram Tinawi, president of the Arab Banking Corporation Board of Directors.
In preparation for pumping direct investments, Tinawi was appointed a banker ambassador for this month’s Economic Summit.
Tinawi, who is also a member of the Union of Banks, and Hisham Ezz Al-Arab, director of the Union and President of Commercial International Bank (CIB), were appointed as ambassadors for the Economic Summit, included among eminent economic figures.
In an interview with Daily News Egypt on Saturday, Tinawi said that, when it comes to the preparations for the Economic Summit, loss is not even an option.
To what extent is the Arab Banking Corporation ready for the Economic Summit?
First of all, my duty is ambassador for the Economic Summit, and my responsibility is promoting, along with Hisham Ezz Al-Arab, Director of the CIB, through presenting all the financial, cash and legislative reforms made eventually by the government, and promoting that Egypt is serious about the work environment to establish business with investors.
What is next, after these promotional rounds?
There was a deal with the delegations that included senior investors in France, Italy and Germany, in order to attend the Economic Summit. They will study accurately several investments projects. Their main concern is the petroleum, energy and infrastructure projects. The variety of the summit’s projects should reassure the government that it is capable of attracting foreign investments. Several directors of international companies confirmed their attendance to the summit, including the director of Global General Electric and Mohamed El-Erian, International Chief Economic Advisor. Meanwhile, we are working on receiving delegations from various international and financial associations.
What are the most important challenges that investors face in Egypt?
The exchange rate is the most important challenge, especially that the national currency was traded with a bigger value, more than its real value lately, but the intervention of the Central Bank of Egypt led to the currency decrease against the dollar, this is besides bureaucracy issues. I believe that the reforms in favour of the investments law will end the bureaucracy crisis, through applying the single-window system, which will fulfil all the investors’ demands from one place. This is besides amending the rest of the legislations which allow investors to exit safely from the market. I believe that the legislations boosting investment issued by the Cabinet last week solved this issue. The dollar issue is about to end, and funding economic activities will be a priority in the next phase.
How do you see the Economic Summit in light of the risk of recent bombing?
The Sinai bombings will not affect the summit and the security situation is about to be stable. Workers in the political and financial industries must also pave the way for the biggest amount of foreign capital to support the efforts of the Central Bank of Egypt for monetary reform, because monetary reform without financial reform will not be of any use. The Egyptian government has no time to focus on anything other than the Economic Summit now and we will succeed no matter what.
Will banks fund economic activities to make up for the budget deficit?
During the last period, we had to fund the budget deficit, but right now our priority will only be directed to the economic activities, which will be the main factor behind employment and improving the lives of Egyptians. In the past several years of sluggish economy, bands had great amounts of cash liquidity and the only way to use their money was through funding the budget deficit. In February 2015, a bank fund portfolio was distributed for funding the budget deficit, EGP 2bn, and economic activities, which confirms that the bank gives priority to the economic activities and company expansions. The banking sector does not get orders from the government to fund the budget deficit. However, when funding the subscription of Suez Canal project we were asked to facilitate the procedures on citizens.
Will local and foreign banks compete in funding the summit’s projects?
Of course the challenge will be on fire but the majority will be in favour of the local banks which have knowledge and experience in the local market, especially that interest rates in local banks are usually lower.
How do you see the government’s efforts recently?
The government is doing the best it can to achieve its targets in the summit. In a meeting held recently, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb showed complete understanding of the issues investors go through and promised to propose implementable solutions to several challenges, the most prominent of which is resolving conflicts, providing lands, improving the tax system, and implementation of the single-window system.