The economic reform plan implemented by the Egyptian government is resulting in great success and highly positive growth rates so far, said Minister of Trade and Industry Tarek Kabil.
During his interview with Euromoney’s consulting editor, Richard Banks, on the second day of the Euromoney Conference in Cairo on Tuesday, Kabil explained that Egypt has managed to retrieve its position on the global economy map as a prominent economy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region thanks to the much-needed legislations and laws in the making and the ones already passed and implemented.
The minister explained that the success of the economic reform plan has resulted in an increased desire by local and foreign investors to inject more investments, especially by young entrepreneurs who are now seeking to obtain industrial lands and units. In addition, a large number of importers are becoming investors, which shows how attractive investment is becoming in Egypt. “We need to depend on the industry as a substitute for trade, and this will be the main pillar of success for the government’s plan to activate the Egyptian economy at this point,” the minister said. He added that in general, the cost of doing business in Egypt is low compared to other countries, such as European Union (EU) countries, which is a good motive for investors.
In terms of industrial lands and their availability, Tarek Kabil said that industry means lands, so without lands, there is no industry; hence, the ministry is paying special attention to that aspect more than ever. “In 2016 and the first half of 2017, we managed to launch 16 million square metres of industrial lands, while in the period from 2007 to 2015 we launched only 9.5 million square metres, so now it is nearly double,” the minister said. He added that the prices of lands now are different and more attractive. “The land costs now are half the regular cost in the market,” he said. Kabil then noted that, over the upcoming period, about 15 million square metres will be launched.
The minister announced that the ministry is embarking on a major investment project in cooperation with a Singaporean company to establish an integrated industrial city on an area of 33 million sqm. “The city will have everything; even schools and houses,” the minister added.
When asked about the diversity in the Egyptian economy and whether the government has plans to pay special attention to certain sectors and industries, the minister said that while Egypt’s perfect location makes it of great potential for becoming an export hub, and with the government’s growing attention to logistics, especially at the Suez Canal corridor, it is essential to pay attention to certain industries more than others in order to deepen them. He said they are four main sectors, which are construction materials, textile, engineering, and chemicals. “This does not mean, however, that we will be ignoring the rest of the sectors,” the minister stressed.
The minister pointed out that Egypt has managed to achieve great industrial growth rates, where The Economist reported that Egypt’s industrial growth in June reached 33%, followed by Singapore and Vietnam.
In terms of global trade, he pointed at the outlook of a World Trade Organisation expert that global trade will increase by 2.4% this year, whereas the expected rates for next year range between 2.1% and 4%.