The Ministry of Supply is working with real estate developers to explore the possibility of establishing the country’s first integrated commercial city,, hoping to boost shopping tourism and generate jobs, Minister of Supply and Domestic Trade Khaled Hanafy said on Monday.
The city would host shops, offices and other commercial activities, Hanafy said during the real estate summit Cityscape Egypt, which was launched to discuss investment opportunities in the sector.
“This could be a national project for the country, however, it is still an idea,” Hanafy said.
During the conference, Hanafy also discussed Egypt’s position as a foreign trade hub. There are several problems in the infrastructure sector halting the country from using its geographical location to be a trading centre, he said, adding that 70% of Egypt’s land is unused.
With the aim of easing the trade process, Hanafy said his ministry is planning to launch a “trade intelligence system” that will include information about trade structure, opportunities and regulations.
The Ministry of Supply is also studying regulations that cripple investors in the foreign and internal trade sectors, Hanafy said.
As a part of the national programme to develop Egypt’s trade, the Internal Trade Development Authority signed an agreement with Gharbeya Governorate in January to establish Egypt’s first logistics and trade complex.
The national programme will establish logistic centres in the country’s 27 governorates, which will provide high quality products with reduced prices, to attract local and foreign investments, the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce said.
Egypt’s trade deficit in the first half of 2013/2014 registered $15.4bn, sliding 16.7% from $18.5bn during the same period in the previous fiscal year, according to the Central Bank of Egypt.
Merchandise exports surged from $11.7bn to $12.6bn, marking a 7.5% increase, while merchandise imports dropped from $30.2bn to $28bn, highlighting the improvement in the trade deficit.