Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr described the trade and investment exchange between African countries as not being achieved in the past years, compared to other continents.
Nasr said the economic growth rates achieved by many African countries did not return as prosperity for them.
Achieving the continent’s goals, such as achieving economic growth and prosperity, depends on creating an environment that will increase private sector participation in the economy and harnessing the talents of young people in Africa, she said.
Nasr pointed out that the comprehensive reforms adopted by African governments in the past period have improved economic conditions throughout the entire continent and marked changes in the structure of many African economies and societies.
Moreover, the minister predicted an increase in GDP throughout Africa by 4.3% in 2018. She said that 12 African countries achieved growth higher than 5% in 2016, and half of those countries exceeded growth rates of 7%, which is above the average global growth and most other emerging markets.
According to Nasr, Egypt is cooperating with African countries to promote the utilisation of their resources and to transform them into a basic engine of global economic growth.
She added that the private sector needs the right legal framework and increased incentives to encourage and guide it to serve the development goals that the countries look forward to.
She called on African investors to participate in the Africa 2017 conference next Thursday to invest in Egypt. “Egypt has an unparalleled investment environment on the continent and welcomes all African brothers,” she said.
Egypt recently issued the new investment law, which is the cornerstone of the government’s economic reform agenda, she said. The government raised the allocations of public investment spending in the state budget last year by 61% to support major infrastructure and energy projects across the country, in a bid to turn Egypt into a strategic gateway for Africa and the world.
She said that Egypt is implementing a systematic economic plan with a specific timeframe, the most important of which is improving the investment climate through a package of legislative and institutional measures, such as the new investment law, which brought a new philosophy to facilitate procedures and eliminate bureaucracy for investors’ benefit.
“The law includes various guarantees and incentives, including tax incentives, like a 50% discount on the investment cost of new projects, to encourage investment in the areas most in need of development. The law also includes a deduction of up to 30% on the investment cost in labour-intensive projects and projects that are based on, or produce, renewable energy, and national, strategic, and tourism projects and the production of electricity,” she said.
The Egyptian economy was able to achieve growth rates of 4.2% in the fiscal year 2016/2017 and attract foreign direct investment of $7.9bn, which is expected to rise to between $10-12bn in the current fiscal year.