By Fiona Freddy
Egypt is currently the largest economy in North Africa and one of the largest in Africa with a large resource base both in human and material parameters. Its rich arable land and great water resources provide enormous potentials for investment in agriculture.
In all ramifications, Egypt is a quintessential wonder in tourism. Its rich cultural diversity, monuments, histories, artifacts and the creative capacity of its people display immense resources in tourism development.
This industry is one of the most productive and vital to the Egyptian economy because it contributes about 10 billion dollars annually to the country.
The immense collection and preservation of ancient sites and monuments such as the Giza Necropolis, the great Sphinx, the Ruins of Memphis, Thebes, Karmak, the Valley of the Kings of Egypt among others, depict the land of the Pharaohs as the cradle of civilization.
Under Egypt’s current economic liberalization policy of President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, domestic and foreign companies have made massive investments in this sector of the Egyptian economy and have made significant gains. Egypt’s youthful population, which is nearing 100 million, is another asset which the investors have exploited to boost their productivity in the economy.
Egypt’s aviation sector is buzzing with the inimitable EgyptAir as the flagship of its air transport coupled with the resplendent Cairo International Airport, which bring billions of dollars to the country.
The Egyptian government is also seeking to boost the nation’s transport infrastructure through massive investment and partnership with the private sector to deliver its ambitious priorities in shipping, rail and road projects..
According to an Egyptian government document on economic potentials in the oil and gas sector, Egypt will continue to attract funds over the medium term and it’s expected that a large proportion of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will be concentrated in this sector.
Some of the areas with great potential in this sector include asset acquirement, oil and gas production, exploration, new petrochemical projects and new third generation refinery aimed at ensuring energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products. This further means that more elaborate plans are underway to increase oil production, boost local refining for self-sufficiency and expand power sector infrastructure.
Egypt’s huge domestic market and diversified economy indicate that others sectors such as communications, real estate are also suitable for investment.
Egypt’s agriculture is rated as one of the best in the world because it is facilitated by irrigation supported by the great Nile River and its Delta. Agriculture is synonymous with Egypt as it enjoys a prominent position in the life of Egypt. It contributes 14.5 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as well as offers employment to more than 29 per cent of its population and accounts for at least 11 per cent of all its exports. This development has helped Egypt achieve agriculture and food security through the agricultural transformation.
In the solid mineral sector, the landscape of Egypt is replete with varied mineral resources such as gold, copper, bauxite and many others valued at $100 billion. Egypt is a darling to investors in this sector and it has been suggested that investors in this sector will enjoy enabling environment created by the present government.
The challenge arising from the 2011 and 2015 uprisings prompted the current government of President Al-Sisi to declare war on corruption and mobilize the people to unite behind the New Egypt, which has achieved some measure of success ,which has renewed the confidence of investors. Although the country faced the challenge of terrorism, the Al-Sisi government has brought it under control and brought stabilization of the macroeconomic environment.
The Egyptian government is also open to investment in the area of industrialization through local and small business enterprise with a direct invitation to the big world corporations to take advantage of the Egypt National Industrial Plan to trigger industrial revolution.
The BridgeAfrique magazine is quoted to have said that “Out of the global recession, Egypt offered broad-based alternatives anchored on a fairly mixed economy, which diverse component and commodity based opportunities have the capacity to heal the world of its prolonged malaise of over-concentration on commodity products.”
The magazine added that since the emergence of a new Egypt after the 2011 uprising and the brief period of the Mohammed Morsi-led government, investor-friendly reforms have been churned out by the government of Al-Sisi.
For instance, foreign investors, who import into the country, will be required to pay far less in tariffs, which were reduced by 40 percent.
The domestic investors are also to enjoy more opportunities as government has introduced a policy of income tax cut from 25 per cent to 22.5 per cent. Egypt according to the magazine scrapped an added 5 per cent tax on the country’s highest earners and suspended a 10 per cent tax on capital gains announced earlier this year.
The multinational companies have since seized the opportunity and entrenched themselves in the energy sector, food industry, IT and technology firms in Egypt with an improved an outsourcing capacity and call centres.
It is to the credit of the Egyptian government, which mapped out the transformation agenda of the Arab country, that the entire economic templates have been fashioned to increasingly make Egypt the darling of investors.