Egypt seeks unified Arab front to promote investment

Abdel-Rahman Hussein
3 Min Read

Emerging economies looking for their share of FDIs and overseas investments

CAIRO: An Egyptian initiative to create a Union of Arab Authorities to promote investment in the region was announced by the chairman of the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (Gafi), Dr Ziad Bahaa El-Din, Saturday, on the closing day of the Second World Association for Investment Promotion Agencies (Waipa) Regional Investment conference in Sharm El-Sheikh.

The initiative was proposed to the Arab authority representatives present at the conference. The representatives from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Qatar, Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan and Libya all welcomed the initiative.

An initial agreement has been reached between the respective Arab authorities subject to a detailed report to be drawn up by Gafi and presented to the relevant Arab authorities. This union will be under the umbrella of Waipa.

This initiative comes despite Bahaa El-Din’s earlier statements asserting, “This isn’t a conference where agreements will be made, it is rather a huge workshop for Investment promotion agencies (IPAs) and Egypt will be the biggest beneficiary. That is the point of the conference. Investment promotion agencies are organizations whose mandate is to encourage investment in a given region.

Head of Waipa Kai Hammerich had stated that emerging markets such as Egypt were coming to the fore when attracting foreign investment and that their growth would only increase in the future. “Emerging economies are taking the scene by force, he said. “Not only are they important recipients of foreign direct investment (FDI), [emerging markets] are also becoming overseas investors, Hammerich said. He added that the Egyptian national economy is attracting increasing amounts of investment.

The share of emerging markets in FDI was 15 percent ten years ago according to Hammerich, while now it is 36-37 percent. Of the biggest 100 corporations in the world, currently only two are from emerging economies. In ten years there are expected to be 50.

Minister of Investment Mahmoud Moheiddin had refuted the idea of Gafi being separated from under the umbrella of the Ministry of Investment, citing that much of its work involved government institutions and the ministry was needed to smooth the process. Earlier, Bahaa El-Din had taken the opposite tack, saying, “My personal opinion is that eventually, we must split; creating companies and promotion agencies.

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