Speaking to Daily News Egypt, Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea stated that her ministry is keen to develop the exhibition system to put Egypt on the map of international exhibitions and make it a regional and global centre for international events, as the Egyptian market is a major hub for global exports to reach the markets of the Middle East and Africa.
What are the most prominent industries that the ministry will focus on in the current year to increase exports and achieve growth rates?
Egypt’s industry sector represents the main locomotive to achieve the state’s plans and objectives towards comprehensive and sustainable economic reform, which the government is adopting with the support and guidance of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
Accordingly, the ministry is implementing a comprehensive strategy to deepen local industrialisation by increasing the proportions of local ingredients and increasing export rates in coordination and cooperation with all state agencies. This is all besides raising the quality of Egyptian products to give them a competitive edge in foreign markets.
Improving the investment and legislative environment and providing the necessary lands for industrial businesses are the major axes in implementing the plan to strengthen the national industry.
A plan has been prepared that includes the implementation of 100 incentive measures to improve the industrial climate and increase production capacity.
As for the most important measures implemented to stimulate exports, they included restructuring the Supreme Council for Export, defining the framework of plans and policies to maximise exports, activating the role of the Export Development Fund, and paying overdue export arrears.
Furthermore, the ministry approved a new programme for export subsidies, developed a network of trade partnerships with foreign markets by activating relations with trading partners, and — most importantly —took advantage of regional integration and preferential trade agreements.
Which industry comes at the top of the list of industrial sectors targeted by development plans?
The manufacturing sector comes at the top of the list of industrial sectors targeted by development plans due to the pivotal role that it plays in creating new added value and opening the way to benefit from rudimentary industry products in new manufacturing processes.
If we look at the specialised industrial complexes that the ministry is establishing, we will find that they include sectors that the ministry aims to develop, whether in terms of developing industrial products or increasing its exports to foreign markets.
It includes chemical and fertiliser industries, building materials, food industries, engineering and electronics, and textiles and ready-made clothes, which are the most important productive sectors in the national economy.
Additionally, Egypt possesses great industrial potentials that qualify it to compete in regional and global markets and contribute to providing the needs of the local market and exporting to foreign markets.
The ministry aims to double exports during the current year, what are the targeted growth rates and how will the ministry achieve them?
Egypt’s non-oil exports reached an all-time high of $32.1bn in 2021, up from the $25.4bn recorded in 2020 — an increase of 26%. This proves the ability of the export sector to deal with the global crisis imposed by the outbreak of the coronavirus since the beginning of last year despite the challenges that the global economy is witnessing, which in turn affects the Egyptian economy, specifically with high inflation rates and freight rates.
These achieved positive indicators reflect the great interest given by the political leadership and the government to the export sector, especially since exports represent one of the most important pillars of the national economy and are an essential element in bringing in hard currency and increasing the cash reserve of foreign currencies.
The ministry aims to formulate a strategic plan to gain access to more markets and enhance the competitiveness of Egyptian products in order to reach a target of $100bn in exports annually.
This can be done through setting frameworks for the flow and growth of exports and consolidating the positive role of the state in developing and stimulating exports and increasing their rates and seeking to put Egypt on the map of global supply chains.
In the current period, the ministry is working to benefit from all free and preferential trade agreements signed with a large number of countries and global economic blocs.
Likewise, the ministry is also working on stimulating exports within the framework of a new programme to pay exporters’ arrears by strengthening export infrastructure through subsidy programmes for exhibition, transport to Africa, and airfreight.
Additionally, enhancing access to Africa, targeting new markets, developing Upper Egypt and border areas, deepening industry through the application of the value-added standard, and increasing the use of local raw materials.
Above all, the ministry is expanding the base of products benefiting from the new programme to include the automotive, pharmaceutical, ceramic industries, along with feeding industries for electronics, electrical and household appliances, exports of food industry production lines, agriculture machinery, and some chemical industries.
What are the main targeted export markets?
The most important main markets for Egyptian exports include European Union countries, the United Kingdom, Arab countries, Latin American countries, the United States, and Turkey.
Negotiations are also underway with Eurasian Union countries to sign a free trade agreement.
There is also a focus on markets in the African continent, where the ministry is implementing a comprehensive plan based on benefiting from the trade agreements signed between Egypt and the countries and blocs of the continent.
Additionally, the ministry is expanding participation in specialised exhibitions and increasing the presence of Egyptian commercial representation in many African countries as well as studying the establishment of new logistic centres that can allow the availability of Egyptian products in African markets, specifically landlocked countries.
It is also maximising the benefits reaped from the new export subsidy programme, which provided many advantages to increase the penetration of Egyptian products to African markets, including increasing the percentage of shipping subsidies to reach 80% instead of 50% in the previous programme.
Will the ministry re-provide support for foreign exhibitions? Also, what is the ministry’s plan for foreign exhibitions in the current year?
The ministry is keen to develop an exhibition system to put Egypt on the map of international exhibitions and make it a regional and global centre for international events, as the Egyptian market is a major hub for global exports to reach markets of the Middle East and Africa.
Exhibitions are one of the most important pillars supporting the Egyptian economy right now, and they are essential to deepening economic and investment relations and exchanging industrial, commercial, and service experiences at the regional and global levels.
In terms of supporting exhibitions, one of the axes of the new programme to subsidise exports and pay exporters’ arrears includes strengthening infrastructure for export, including support for exhibitions, as a work plan for the first half of 2022 was approved with a total of 25 exhibitions to be held outside of Egypt.
What is the ministry’s plan to offer industrial lands to investors during the current year, and is there a plan to offer lands under the industrial developer system?
The land allocation system is currently being reviewed in order to determine the extent of the seriousness of investors in establishing projects based on which plots of land were granted and their commitment to timetables set for the completion of projects and beginning production, as the ministry will not allow the phenomenon of land hoarding.
As for the industrial developer system, it contributes to the rapid provision of industrial lands with full utilities and services through a successful and balanced partnership with the private sector.
The ministry is currently focusing on offering specialised industrial complexes, as it is the closest approach to achieving the maximum benefit from the state’s resources and achieving the desired goal behind allocating industrial plots of lands to investors as well as focusing on providing lands for industrial expansion as well as serious projects with economic feasibility.
How many complexes does the ministry intend to offer this year, and in which governorates?
In order to complete the plan to establish industrial complexes, the ministry offered seven complexes in October 2020 with 1,657 units in Alexandria, the Red Sea, Gharbeya, Beni Suef, Minya, Sohag, and Luxor, with areas ranging from 48 sqm to 792 sqm depending on the type of targeted businesses.
Procedures for offering five industrial complexes in Assiut, Aswan, Beheira, and Fayoum are also being completed with a total number of 2,136 units, in addition to a complex in Qena, which was inaugurated by President Al-Sisi and includes 420 units.
Moreover, the base of the financing banks was also expanded to reach eight banks, in addition to the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development Agency raising the financing ceiling to 100% of unit value.