Economic challenges require new strategies to attract foreign investments: GAFI’s CEO

Daily News Egypt
6 Min Read

Hossam Heiba, the CEO of Egypt’s General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI), said that the Egyptian economy has undergone significant changes that demand new strategies to boost local and foreign investments, with an emphasis on the role of the private sector as the main driver of economic development.

He said, in his speech at the opening sessions of the eighth Annual Capital Markets Summit organized by Media Avenue under the theme “Structural Reforms – Sustainable Development”, that GAFI is responsible for developing legislative amendments to stimulate investment activity and provide more opportunities for the private sector, as well as encouraging exports and reducing the import bill.

He added that increasing competition among companies is one of GAFI’s tasks, as it ensures more attractiveness for large-scale foreign investments.

Heiba stated that GAFI has made great efforts to speed up the digital transformation, ease the process of obtaining investment licences, supply the necessary lands for new projects, and offer investment incentives, especially for the industrial and development sectors, while also eliminating bureaucracy.

He highlighted that developing the legislative environment for investments was a key aspect of the reform developments, as GAFI has amended the investment law and offered a package of incentives to various sectors, including a cash incentive for industrial investment projects, ranging from 35% to 55% of the value of the income tax paid.

Heiba announced that GAFI has extended the deadline for companies to benefit from investment incentives until 2029, and allowed all new or expanded investment projects to enjoy tax incentives on machinery and equipment.

He pointed out that GAFI is currently working on creating a new incentive package for sectors of strategic importance, such as healthcare, transportation and logistics, tourism, and soon education, through coordination with the relevant authorities and the private sector, to ensure the optimal use of the incentives.

He also indicated that GAFI is keen to facilitate the procedures for obtaining the golden licence and that the amendments to the law have expanded the scope of eligibility for it to all legal forms of new companies and expanding investment projects for existing companies.

Heiba said that a special unit has been established to grant the golden licence, which has already started its work. The golden licence is issued within a maximum period of 20 days, in addition to coordinating with all government agencies to grant the licence with the least effort and time for the investor.

He mentioned that GAFI has issued 26 golden licences for several projects in the industrial, food, construction, and technology fields.

Heiba noted that GAFI has prioritized accelerating the digital transformation, and launched an integrated platform for investment in Egypt.

The platform provides services for established companies, through which the investor can register the application for incorporation, pay the required fees and submit the documents, as well as access a special platform for the golden licence, which allows the investor to apply for the licence and track the application status.

Heiba said that the authority has launched a digital investment news service, which is highly demanded by investor service centres. He said that the newspaper serves as a document that introduces the company’s history from the start of its activity until the present time and that investors need it for many procedures related to investment operations and dealing with government and banking agencies.

He also said that the authority is working to promote investment in Egypt by holding conferences with business associations and chambers of commerce, to attract foreign investors and localize various industries, such as textile, food, poultry, petrochemical, and automobile industries.

Heiba announced that a platform for startup companies will be launched in the next few days, which will include all data on the entrepreneurship climate in Egypt and existing companies, as well as how to obtain the necessary financing from business incubators or investment funds.

He stated that GAFI is intensifying its efforts to solve all the problems facing investors and that it has established a unit to address them, with a specific time plan and clear responses.

He noted that these reforms have resulted in increased foreign investment flows in Egypt, as net foreign direct investment flows in Egypt rose to $10bn in the last fiscal year 2022-2023, with a growth rate of 12.3% compared to the previous fiscal year.

Heiba added that foreign direct investments in non-petroleum sectors achieved a net inflow of $11bn, with retained earnings for reinvestment purposes accounting for 44% of those investments and transfers to establishing and expanding new companies accounting for 37%.

He said that GAFI is aiming to attract $12bn in direct foreign investment by the end of the current fiscal year and that it expects to achieve this due to the positive response from the conferences that the authority participates in foreign markets.

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