Egypt is not vulnerable, as you said, because maybe at difficult times they breathe opportunities, the Egyptian Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said emphasised.
El-Said’s statements came during Bloomberg Emerging + Frontier Forum 2022, in a panel discussion titled “A New World Order: Emerging and Frontier Markets.”
Agriculture is one of the main sectors that Egypt focuses on, she said, adding “so, we increased the cultivation of our wheat production. We used to import 55% of our needs. Next year will be importing 45% of our needs.
She added that focusing on agriculture and manufacturing is the main tool for that and of course the support of the international institutions to help us with more investment.
“All of the emerging countries, not only Egypt, came out of the pandemic with soaring debt levels,” El-Said explained.
Egypt’s economic reform programme focused more on the fiscal and monetary side, the minister said.
“This was the first time that we embarked on a structural reform agenda. So, we worked hard on putting the reform program that focused more on the real side of the economy, enhancing the role of agriculture, manufacturing, and ICT with also an emphasis on greening our investment,” she added.
The Egyptian economy is diversified it has 60% of the population are young talented people.
“So, I think having more investment in a country that is a hub for Africa, that has all the potential and ingredients for green projects is what we need,” the Egyptian minister said.
Egypt was one of the very few countries that grew positively during the pandemic. And now this year we grew by about 6.6% with a decent unemployment rate, which is about 7.2%.
“And I think within all these challenges, I think this is a very decent unemployment rate because we are a country that grew by about 2.5 million people every year. We have about 900,000 graduates every year that we need to offer them jobs,” El-Said elaborated.
“We established the Sovereign Fund of Egypt, so that when the foreign or local private sector wants to invest just goes to one place and it doesn’t need to deal with any other institutions. And we are now coming out with also some other incentives to localize industry, especially industries related to green projects. As you know, we are hosting COP 27 this year, this November, and less than 50 days. And a lot of projects we’re doing with.”
Egypt has 15 investments in green hydrogen and green ammonia MoUs, some of them will be signed during COP 27, she added.
Regarding state-owned enterprises, the minister indicated that Egypt had to inject these investments because the country had this deteriorating infrastructure.
“So, it was very important when we start having this state ownership policy to have this through public dialogue. We didn’t do this as a government. This has been done in full coordination with the private sector,” she added.
“We have been consulting with the private sector, for almost a year now, deciding on there is a role for the government,” she continued.
El-Said added that within social protection the government has launched the Decent Life Initiative, which will lead to 58 million people in Egypt having decent housing, water, clean water, and sanitation.
Other investments in terms of manufacturing, in terms of agriculture, basically the private sector has the value added of the private sector in the economy is reaching about 70% and they employ about 75% of Egyptian employment.
“So the private sector role is there, but we need more because as I said, there was a role for the state to upgrade the level of infrastructure and to have this level to where the Egyptians deserve this level of infrastructure,” she concluded.