Ashraf El Kadi, the chairperson of the United Bank, has expressed his optimism and anticipation of the launch of the Egyptian economy’s kick off with the start of 2018.
El Kadi explained that there is global interest by Arab and foreign investors in Egypt. He noted that this is easy to see in the large number of delegations to take part in the Euromoney Conference (which will take place in Egypt on 18 and 19 September) as well as in the number of institutions that showed interest in the investment map in Egypt. He said that this has put Egypt on the right track, according to the 2030 vision, to turn Egypt into one of the largest 30 economies in the world.
El Kadi pointed out that the current economic reform programme of the social dimension has provided investors with confidence in the fact that Egypt is serious about its goals and becoming a strong, growing economy.
He added that the availability of serious and attractive investment opportunities in light of the new Investment Law provides investors with protection and confidence. Sustainable development would also be easy to achieve through improving citizens’ standard of living, improving services, and providing more jobs.
Fair distribution of investment opportunities across the country
El Kadi believes that the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation is seriously and comprehensively seeking to prepare an integrated investment map that includes all governorates of the country within a national framework. The map would aim to determine and announce the available opportunities to inject new investments in major national projects, as well as small and medium projects in order to reduce poverty, unemployment, and illiteracy.
“The investment map aims to achieve sustainable development in a number of governorates, the most prominent being the development of axes governorates: Matrouh, Gharbeya, Menoufiya, Kafr Al-Sheikh, Fayoum, Luxor, Red Sea, Aswan, Qena, Damietta, and Suez,” El Kadi said.
The Golden Triangle Economic Zone is the century’s project for Upper Egypt development
El Kadi has explained that the Egyptian government’s issuance of the decision to establish the Golden Triangle Economic Zone is considered a true start of developing Upper Egypt’s governorates.
He went on to explain that the Golden Triangle Economic Zone project is a large economic leap for the governorates of Upper Egypt. It aims to achieve sustainable development in all fields. The project was designed to be the largest industrial, tourism, agricultural, and commercial centre that directly serves the citizens of Upper Egypt and the Red Sea. It would aim to increase jobs and create new urban communities with investment and economic activities that depend on optimal utilisation.
Multiple advantages of investments in Egypt
As an answer to the question regarding the investment advantages in Egypt, El Kadi said that there are several advantages that contribute to reaching an economy that is globally strong—most importantly, Egypt’s attractive investment climate and the availability of multiple investment opportunities and economic activities across the country.
Egypt also has a strong banking system, a promising stock exchange, and an accurately put investment agenda based on studies of the nature of the areas, as well as the human and natural resources available in them, according to El Kadi. The existence of a free exchange rate and freedom in transferring funds also contribute greatly.
“There are four sectors likely to lead to Egypt’s economic growth over the upcoming period: real estate, trade, manufacturing, and agriculture,” El Kadi said.
A large role played by the banking system in achieving sustainable development
El Kadi noted that the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) played a pivotal role in the economic reform programme through monetary policies and rules that regulate and control the economy to restore the confidence for investors.
He stressed that the banking system has protected the Egyptian economy from violent shocks and was able to meet the market’s financial needs, as well as cover the deficit of the general budget through investing in debt instruments, in addition to implementing several initiatives to finance small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and finance the real estate and tourism sectors.
“The CBE works on developing solutions and procedures that aim to integrate the unofficial economy to the official one through paying attention to small and micro projects in order to achieve sustainable development,” El Kadi said.
He added that the financial inclusion initiative launched by the bank aims to reach customers, no matter where they are geographically, and to launch products that meet their diverse needs, Financial inclusion also aims to spread the financial culture and to gradually transform the society into a digital one through maximising the role of technology and mechanising payments.
The United Bank and its role in economic development plans
In response to another question regarding the role of the United Bank in the economic development plans, El Kadi said that he hopes to deepen the role of the bank and make it take part in Egypt’s economic kick off.
He believes that the United Bank has a great banking advantage in several fields, including its awareness of the importance of the role of SMEs and micro enterprises in developing the economy, as well as providing jobs for young people to eliminate unemployment and improve citizens’ living conditions. This, in turn, he said, will have a positive impact on the inner and outer trade, as well as improve the quality of Egyptian products under the slogan “Made in Egypt”.
He added that the bank contributes to enhancing the resources of Egyptian citizens through the CBE’s initiative for mortgage financing for low- and medium-income individuals, and it also offers full support to the social responsibility organisations, especially in the fields of health, education, and slums’ community development.
El Kadi pointed out that the United Bank is present through 52 branches across the country, and it also offers its services through the Internet to its clients easily and quickly.