By Ahmad Al-Adly and Raghda Helal
Germany agreed to allocate a development cooperation package of Є100m to Egypt to establish projects in renewable energy, water and irrigation, besides the rehabilitation of a number of power plants in the High Dam area, according to German Ambassador in Cairo, Hansjörg Haber.
Last week, Haber told the Daily News Egypt that the new cooperation package between Egypt and Germany focuses on the establishment of a number of projects in the fields of renewable energy, represented in the establishment of wind farms alongside the Red Sea. In addition, a part of the development cooperation package will be allocated to rehabilitate a number of generators in the High Dam area.
“Cooperation between the two countries includes the establishment of the largest water barrier in the governorate of Assiut, as well as the contribution in creating job opportunities for youth and women in particular,” he added.
Haber also mentioned that his government is interested in the conference on the support and development of the Egyptian economy scheduled for March. He noted that German companies share the same interest, but they need additional information from the Egyptian government before taking any decision regarding participation.
“Egypt has shown in the past its ability to achieve high growth rates in spite of the growing population rate, expecting the growth rate to swing between 5% and 6% during the coming period” Haber said, emphasising that economic growth does not matter to the Egyptians as much as achieving justice in the distribution of income.
Haber mentioned that German companies would pump investments in any project that fits their fields of work, as long as it generates good revenue, pointing out that the investor only works in a stable legal and administrative environment.
He continued that promoting investment in Egypt cannot be only through holding conferences, and that it is closely linked to the manner of setup and security and political stability, stressing on the ability of the Egyptian state to grow.
Haber explained that Egypt must provide a real competitive environment with a good level of administration and a fair level of equal opportunity.
The German ambassador described the government policies that took place end of 2014 as a good start for investors, since Egypt still needs efforts to make real changes for investors especially in the field of small and medium-sized enterprises.
The government developed a plan to reduce energy subsidies and abolish it entirely within five years, in addition to announcing the solution to the energy crisis in two years. This is especially after the country’s exposure to an energy shortage crisis which had a negative impact on the industrial activity and led to a 70% decline in the production capacity of some factories, while others shut their work completely.
“I hope to see more structural reform, including the administrative system of better training for officials, reduction of routine, and the realization of the rule of law,” said Haber.
He stressed the need for direct investment away from intensive energy-consuming sectors, and sectors that do not add value to dynamics (which provide the greatest number of job opportunities).