The government is aiming to accumulate investments of EGP170bn in the current fiscal year, up from EGP155bn last year, while also finalising the master plan for the Suez Canal Corridor development project, according to Minister of Investment Osama Saleh.
Speaking at the Euromoney Conference 2013, Saleh confirmed that while growth of foreign investments is slow, it is “inevitable”, highlighting that political stability is a necessity and that his ministry is working on legal reforms that guarantee a better investment environment.
“Foreign direct investment [FDI] reached $13b in 2007/2008 and immediately after the revolution it dipped to $2.2bn, to slowly increase to $4bn and currently stands at $3bn. However, the number of companies established has increased, depicting a slow increase, of a yearly average of $2.2bn,” he told the audience.
Highlighting the importance of FDI, which amounts to amounts to 25% of total investments in Egypt, Saleh said that his ministry undertook a number of reforms in laws pertaining to the influx of international money to Egypt in the form of investments.
“We’re working on cutting down the procedures to issue licensees. Previously, if you were lucky, it would take a year, but the process usually extends to three years. We’re currently working on changing that to a one-stop shop,” he explained.
Saleh went on to add that there are expected investments from Russia and the Gulf, especially from Saudi Arabia. He also said recent court verdicts annulling previous privatisations will be respected and executed by the government, which is also working on ways to compensate investors who bore losses due to such rulings.
As for the Suez Canal Corridor project, Saleh said the committee tasked with discussing the national plan will be finalizing the master plan to be announced by the end of this month.