The Egypt Economic Development Conference showcases the new Egypt, shining a spotlight on more than 100
projects that the country now has in the pipeline
The ongoing Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) in Sharm El-Sheikh, being held March 13-15, is a global landmark conference that is relaunching the country as a destination of international investment. Under the motto ‘Egypt The Future’, characterized by successful economic reform, reduced red tape and a climate of increased investor confidence, the EEDC aims to highlight the economic reforms undertaken so far, attract new investment into Egypt, and restore Egypt’s reputation as a trustworthy partner for international investment.
“This is an opportune time for the global financial community to come to Egypt to witness firsthand the changes that the country has made over the past year to fundamentally reform the economy and unleash its productive capacity,” wrote President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in a letter to the attendees.
“This country is turning the corner on its recent unusual period of political strife and uncertainty, and a positive momentum has already begun. As we now look ahead to fulfilling Egypt’s potential, we invite both domestic and foreign investors to take part actively in the re-invigoration of the Egyptian economy.”
With positive assessments from international rating agencies, as well as the World Bank and the IMF, there is a new-found optimism in Egypt and its future, and the EEDC builds upon this positive momentum.
“We will change the perception of Egypt and prepare the country for a future of growth and prosperity,” Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab says. “If investors believe in the country and its leadership, then naturally the investment will flow in, and we are confident that investors will be impressed.”
“With this summit, we aim to attract investment,” adds Dr. Naglaa El Ehwany, Minister of International Cooperation. “It is true that we have to present some projects, but that alone will not attract investment. We must also give a strong message to the world about the vision of the country, its policies, the reforms that have been put in place, and to present the opportunities that are available in different sectors.”
Dr. El Ehwany has led the organization of the conference in partnership with members of the Ministerial Economic Committee, as well as the Saudi Arabian Minister of Finance, Dr. Ibrahim Al Assaf, and the U.A.E. Minister of State, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber.
Dr. Al Jaber, who is also Chairman of the Coordination Office of U.A.E.-funded Development Projects in Egypt, says: “The conference is also a platform for Egypt to ensure that the local and international communities are well aware of the strides taken towards attracting and protecting investments, showcasing possible public-private partnerships, [and] shedding light on the various infrastructure investment opportunities and key industries such as energy, mining, housing, agriculture, tourism, industry, transport, logistics, ICT, education and healthcare.”
This message is reaffirmed by Ambassador Yasser Elnaggar, Principal Deputy Minister of Investment. “This conference is about sending a clear message to the international political and business community that Egypt is back on track,” he says. “It represents the credibility of our country.”
“In the past, companies have hesitated to do business in Egypt due to antiquated and unfair legal practices. The government is determined to remove these constraints in order to create a welcoming climate for all investors,” affirmed the President in his letter.
There are expected to be some 120 investment projects promoted at the conference, covering 10 different sectors, as well as a number of the government’s large-scale mega projects – key cornerstones of the government’s investment stimulation plan.
Showcased at the conference will be the $8.5 billion development of the Suez Canal area – described by President Al-Sisi as “the flagship of the government’s investment recovery program”. This massive expansion of the canal will see the construction of 45 miles of parallel waterway, cutting transit time by almost half and doubling the canal’s capacity. It also aims to create an industrial zone along Egypt’s eastern border – regenerating not only the immediate canal area but also Port Said, Ismailia and Suez.
Other mega projects include the Golden Triangle and Airport City developments. Stretching from Qena to Quesir to Safaga, the Golden Triangle Project will develop the natural resources and mineral wealth, while also focusing on industrial, commercial, agricultural and touristic opportunities. Investments in the area are estimated at EGP230 billion ($30 billion), providing up to 400,000 new jobs.
The ‘Airport City’ project will establish a city around Cairo International Airport. Forming an investment zone of almost 10 million square meters (2,470 acres), it will be made up of five commercial and industrial zones. “The expected volume of investments is more than EGP80 billion,” states Hossam Kamal, Minister of Civil Aviation, “and expected revenues from the project according to studies are up to EGP422 billion.”
“There are many opportunities for both domestic and foreign investors in an array of sectors,” writes President Al-Sisi.
“We have an unparalleled tourism product that has never been fully tapped, even before the 2011 revolution; it will inevitably recover and again become an important venue for investment and catalyst for growth.
“Light manufacturing should take off in this country given the advantages that Egypt offers in terms of its relatively low costs, large labor pool and accessibility to markets in Europe, the GCC and Asia.
“Another dynamic area of opportunity is information and communications technology, which we see poised for take-off. The energy sector will also revive as the energy subsidies are overhauled, leading to renewed exploration and production.
Other sectors include transportation, housing, agriculture, and mining.”
With Egyptian investment banks as well as the World Bank and the IMF also confirmed to be in attendance, it is expected that the EEDC will be “a development conference that will attract international financial institutions and investors’ interest, as well as other participants including foreign aid,” Dr. El Ehwany enthuses.
The conference opened yesterday with a welcoming address by President Al-Sisi. A noteworthy list of eminent speakers have also been confirmed, including Jeff Immelt (Chairman and CEO of General Electric), Mohamed El-Erian (Chief Economic Advisor of Allianz and Chair of the Global Development Council), Paul Polman (CEO of Unilever), and Jim Yong Kim (President of the World Bank). There will also be plenty of networking opportunities at the conference, with special times set aside for one-to-one meetings with President Al-Sisi and his team of ministers.
Prime Minister Mahlab says, “I’m convinced that the potential of Egypt has not been discovered. I want the whole world to know that there is political, economic and administrative reform in Egypt.”