President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi sees Egyptian-US relations as “strategic” on the economic and government levels, Presidential Spokesman Alaa Youssef said in a presidency statement.
Youssef added, via the statement, that the relations can be reinforced by cooperation with the private sector in both countries.
Al-Sisi arrived in New York on Thursday to attend the UN’s 70th General Assembly, and held meetings with a number of leaders and US businessmen to discuss increasing investment in Egypt.
Youssef added that Al-Sisi also met with a number of managers at investment funds and asset management and financial portfolios companies, in coordination with the Business Council for International Understanding. Following the meeting, he also held discussions with members of the American Chamber of Commerce and the US Egypt Business Council.
“The heads of the US companies [that] attended expressed their intention to pump more investments into Egypt during the next period, to take advantage of the available investment opportunities, and of the lucrative investment returns allowed through working in Egypt,” Youssef said.
The US investors described the governmental reforms for rationalising energy subsidies, launching national projects, and reforming the electricity system as serious, despite the difficult regional circumstances surrounding Egypt.
Al-Sisi said that, whilst working on attracting investments, the government is looking to fight corruption and eliminate bureaucracy. It is also looking to issue the Unified Investment Law, adopt the free economy trend in which the state is committed to working with the private sector, and consequently focus not only on national mega projects, but also on small- and medium-sized projects.
Egypt ranks second worldwide in terms of achieving higher returns on investment, Al-Sisi said, adding that the government is working on achieving democracy and social justice in parallel with efforts made on the economic level.
During his meeting with members of the American Chamber of Commerce and the US Egypt Business Council, Al-Sisi said that Egypt is a huge consumer market and a gateway to Africa and the Middle East.
Adding to Al-Sisi’s comments, Minister of Investment Ashraf Salman said: “We aspire to achieve growth of 5%-6% during the current fiscal year (FY) 2015/2016.” Salman also praised the decrease in Egypt’s unemployment rate from 13.6% to 12.5% during FY 2014/2015; the state’s general budget deficit decreased to 10.5% from 15.5-16%.
“Improving the credit rating of Egypt and its economic outlook twice in a row reflects the world’s confidence in the [country’s] reforms,” Salman added.