Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour met with Angela Merkel’s economic adviser Lars-Hendrik Roller on Thursday to discuss potential investment opportunities in Egypt.
The meeting came during Abdel Nour’s visit to Germany as part of a larger European tour. Roller called Egypt one of the “most pivotal” countries in Africa and Middle East, asserting that restoring stability and security would have a great impact on expanding and developing bilateral economic relations between the two countries, a statement from Ministry of Industry said.
Abdel Nour told Roller that the Suez Canal Development project is “an important investment project for Germany as it possesses economic advantages”, adding that it encompasses a number of fields such as transportation, energy, information technology, tourism and telecommunications.
The pairs also discussed methods of restructuring and revitalising the Egyptian-German Business Council, which was established in 2005 but has not held a meeting since.
During the meeting, Abdel Nour also raised the prospect of cooperating in the Egyptian energy and renewable energy sector, highlighting that the interim government recently permitted the private sector to import their needed supplies of natural gas. “This procedure will attract German investors,” Abdel Nour added.
“Germany will host the G8 summit in 2015 and Egypt can benefit from this,” Roller mentioned.
In his visit, Abdel Nour also met with representatives of German companies investing in Egypt at the headquarters of the Federation of German Industries, where they discussed the hurdles facing these firms in the country. They also reviewed their plans to expand their activities in Egypt.
The minister noted that the government is currently reviewing laws and regulations that govern economic activities in the country “in order to improve the business climate and facilitate the entrance of foreign investments into the Egyptian market.”
Chief Executive of German-Arab Chamber of Commerce Rainer Herret said new projects would be implemented in Egypt over the coming period, including the opening of a new factory in Alexandria that would be entirely export focused.
Herret also announced that Germany is set to sign a €100,000 agreement with Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity to provide a training programme for aspiring public sector workers.
Government bureaucracy is the main obstacle hindering the growth of German investment in Egypt, said Vice President of Henkel, who also attended the meeting, was quoted in the statement as saying.
Abdel Nour highlighted Egypt’s measures to regain economic stability, which he said would be achieved through the adoption of two economic stimulus packages focused on developing infrastructure and taking measures to reduce the 14% of GDP budget deficit.
Representatives of Swiss companies investing in Germany also met with Abdel Nour and expressed interest in investing in the railway sector, which the minister pledged to discuss with Egypt’s transportation minister.
Earlier in January, Abdel Nour planned a tour to European countries, United States and Russia in February and March in order to attract investments and “correct the image of the political situation in Egypt”.