CAIRO: In the past couple of years, the world has lived through four crises: food, fuel, financial and flu, said Egypt’s Investment Minister Mahmoud Mohieldin.
The fuel crisis had a positive impact on oil-producing countries, he added. “The financial crisis will have the least impact in the short and medium term compared to the food crisis, and it is yet to be seen how the ensuing flu epidemic will unfold.
On a more positive note, “food prices have started to cool down as we expected, Mohieldin said, speaking at the Gulf-Egypt Investment Forum, which opened in Cairo Wednesday.
The conference set out to highlight opportunities and promote investment between Egypt and countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Among the high-profile Arab investors in attendance were Mohamed Al-Rajhi, CEO of Al-Rajhi International for Investment, and Abdulrahim Hasan Naqi, secretary general of the Federation of GCC Chambers of Commerce.
The six GCC countries have contributed 35 percent of Egypt’s foreign direct investment – in terms of issued capital – since 1970, Mohieldin said.
Saudi-based Al-Rajhi International Investment is investing heavily in Egypt’s Toshka project. In May, the company announced plans to import agricultural equipment worth 187.5 million Saudi riyals ($50 million) for the Toshka agricultural project close to the Nile River in Egypt, Saudi-based Al Riyadh daily reported.
Al-Rajhi said it plans to cultivate cereals that include, among others, wheat and corn, in Toshka.
In his speech Gamal Byomi, head of Arab Investors Federation, told attendees to look into potentials investment in Egypt’s communication sector, which “grew at between 18 to 20 percent on the sustained level of demand over the past few years.
He also pointed to real estate, which is growing based on real demand.
“We are looking to investing in Arab countries – this is a top priority now for Arab investors, Naqi told Daily News Egypt, adding that while Egypt is one of the main destinations, “bureaucracy continues to be an obstacle.
Morocco, Algeria and Sudan also are attractive destinations for Arab investment.
Saudi Arabia has the loins’ share of Arab investments in Egypt, with 2,268 companies operating locally, followed by 664 companies from Kuwait, 456 from the UAE, 151 from Bahrain, 129 from Qatar and 43 from Oman.