Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly met on Monday a Kuwaiti delegation of about 45 businessmen, economists, and representatives of trade institutions and banks, representing the majority of Kuwaiti economic sectors, at the headquarters of the Kuwait Investment Authority in Cairo.
Madbouly called on Kuwaiti investors to communicate directly with him to expedite the implementation of their upcoming projects or to eliminate any obstacles hindering their business development.
The meeting was attended by Ahmed Samir, Minister of Trade and Industry; Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Executive Director of the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI); Mohamed Jassem Al-Sager, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Kuwait, and head of the Kuwaiti side in the Egyptian-Kuwaiti Cooperation Council; Ghanem Saqer Al-Ghanem, Kuwaiti ambassador to Cairo; Mohamed El-Masry, Vice President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce; and Alaa Ezz, Secretary-General of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce.
The Prime Minister began the meeting by welcoming the Kuwaiti delegation, stressing the depth and strength of relations between Egypt and Kuwait. He praised the mutual visits between the two countries at the leadership level, the most recent of which was the visit of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to Kuwait last February.
He added that the current international challenges require Arab countries to enhance coordination and cooperation among themselves, especially in the economic sectors.
Madbouly explained that Egypt, like other countries of the world, was affected by the current global conditions that led to the rise in energy and basic commodity prices. However, despite the Coronavirus pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, Egypt was able to handle the impact of the two crises, thanks to its economic reform programmes.
He stressed that Egyptian citizens did not suffer a shortage in supply of goods. “Moreover, when prices increased worldwide, we were careful not to add to the burden of citizens.”
He continued: “A state of uncertainty dominates the global economy, and no one can predict what the situation will be like after a few months.” He stressed that any medium- or long-term investment in Egypt will have a multiplied outcome when the global economy recovers.
He added: “Certainly, what happened has caused pressures on the Egyptian economy, but this crisis will pass. We were able to overcome the crisis of the Coronavirus pandemic, during which we achieved positive growth figures compared to different countries of the world, according to specialized international institutions.”
The Prime Minister expressed the Egyptian government’s interest to increase the volume of Kuwaiti investments in Egypt during the coming period, as well as its keenness on strengthening partnership with the local and international private sector, especially with the state’s current incentive policies to support the private sector.
In this regard, he pointed out that the new Egyptian Investment Law facilitated the injection and withdrawal of foreign capital in the country, and the government also issued the Bankruptcy Law to protect investors in the event of liquidation or closure.
He noted that many measures were adopted over the past years to create a welcoming business climate for investors, and the most important of these measures was announcing the golden business licence, which is issued directly by the Cabinet.
The Prime Minister referred to the measures that have been taken to price industrial lands across Egypt and establish projects on these lands either through the ownership system or usufruct. He explained that in the case of usufruct, investors can own the land after a certain period.
He continued: “We have determined a period of 20 working days to obtain all project approvals and operation licences. A specialized committee will follow up on this matter. Another committee has been established to solve investors’ problems along with other mechanisms that already exist to settle these problems.”
He stressed that the Committee for Solving Investors’ Problems in the Cabinet looks into investors’ problems before they turn into disputes or arbitration cases. This committee has already solved many investment problems.
The Prime Minister reiterated the government’s keenness to increase Kuwaiti investments in Egypt, pointing out that the government has an investment opportunities map in all fields. He also stressed the importance of enhancing areas of trade exchange between the two countries.
He said: “The government currently prioritises several goals and sectors, mainly localising the industry and focusing on new and renewable energy projects, infrastructure, communications, tourism, and real estate investment.”
The Prime Minister explained that the Egyptian government is open to any partnership agreements with the Kuwaiti side in the field of silos and logistic centers. He pointed out that these types of projects have great economic feasibility, and the government has made a remarkable effort over the past period to develop these centers.
He added that the Egyptian government considers achieving greater rates of development a top priority. He explained that it is dealing with many challenges related to population growth and providing job opportunities for young people.
Madbouly indicated that an economic conference will be held, based on the mandates of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, this month, as the conference will include actors in the economic field.
He touched on the “State Ownership Policy Document”, which includes a clear policy for the state’s participation in various sectors, and a community dialogue was conducted, which included 40 sessions, in which about 1,000 experts and economists participated.
He explained that in November, Egypt will host the COP27 climate conference, which will be a great opportunity to get acquainted with the most prominent projects in the field of green economy, as well as various projects in different sectors.
During the meeting, Minister of Commerce and Industry Ahmed Samir said that the Kuwaiti delegation includes representatives from various economic sectors in the State of Kuwait, which reflects the paramount importance of this delegation.
He added that the map of the world is changing. “I’m sure that this opportunity will not come again. In times of crises, wealth is made, and that this opportunity must be utilized in the best possible way,” he noted.
Mohamed Jassem Al-Sager, President of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the Chamber has been following the developments of the Egyptian economic reform programme since 2016. He pointed out that this delegation, which represents most sectors in the Kuwaiti economy, reflects the extent of interest in the Egyptian market.
He continued: “The indicators of the Egyptian economy were going very well until the Russian-Ukrainian crisis occurred, and Egypt was affected like the rest of the world, especially that the Egyptian economy depends on these two countries greatly in importing grain, and Ukrainian and Russian tourism represent a large proportion of tourism in Egypt”. He added: “We trust the ability of the Egyptian economy to recover smoothly.”
Mohamed Al-Masry, Vice-President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, said that the invitation of the Kuwaiti delegation to visit Egypt reflects the Egyptian government’s keenness to strengthen partnership with the local and global private sector and increase its contribution to the Egyptian economy to reach 65% instead of 30% currently. He also stressed that the file of industrial settlement in the Arab region is one of the priorities of the Egyptian state in the next stage.