By Islam Atris
The Japanese government has yet to decide on its participation in the March 2015 economic summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, according to the Ambassador of Japan in Cairo, Takahiro Kagawa.
Ambassador Kagawa said that Japan is awaiting clarification on the vision for this conference.
The economic summit, which is set to run between 13-15 March, is aimed at supporting the Egyptian economy and attracting investment.
“The investment climate in Egypt is not bad, but Japanese private sector companies operating here face many problems, most notably accessing foreign currency on the local level,” Kagawa said.
He added that he is aware the government is working to amend the foreign investment law. He said that the investment environment in Egypt would be appropriate for Japanese investors after the law is approved.
He stated that the trade volume between Egypt and Japan was not large, emphasising the necessity, as far as possible, of promoting a greater trade balance between the two countries.
The volume of trade exchange between Egypt and Japan at the end of 2012 increased by 34% up to approximately $3bn, compared to approximately $2.2bn during 2011.
Egyptian exports to Japan increased by 40% during 2012 to approximately $1.2bn, compared to $873.2 during 2011.
According to Kagawa, there are no specific projects to be discussed with Japan at the moment, and Japanese private sector investors are still worried about the current situation in Egypt.
He stated that the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is currently funding implementation of a large Egyptian Museum project. The Japanese government also recently approved funding for the construction of the first phase of the fourth Cairo metro line.
The fourth line starts at Dream Land on the outskirts of 6th October City, passing through the Pyramids Gardens and Ramiya Square. A metro stop will be built next to the new Egyptian Museum, which will be constructed in Giza, with the line also passing eastward through Haram Street, also in Giza. The line will move through Old Cairo and Giza Square next to Cairo University, then Mogamma in Al-Adyan, Nasr City, and New Cairo.
According to Kagawa, the Japanese Export-Import Bank is funding the private sector and could potentially fund projects in Egypt. This would allow the Japanese public sector to move the bank toward funding investment projects implemented by the private sector in Egypt.