The largest British trade delegation to Egypt to date, currently visiting, aims to consider increasing the volume of British investments in Egypt and increasing trade volume, said Sameh Seif El-Yazal, head of the British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA).
During a meeting that brought together the British delegation, members of the government’s Economic Group, and BEBA on Tuesday, El-Yazal revealed that a trip to the UK would take place in June through BEBA to follow-up on investment coordination between the two countries.
He went on to say that the British delegation would visit the Suez Canal Axis Development project tomorrow to review the latest developments of the project, followed by bilateral meetings between British and Egyptian companies.
Minister of Investment Ashraf Salman said that the world is currently experiencing an economic slowdown, but Egypt was expected to achieve approximately 4% economic growth by the end of FY 2014/2015, driven by recent economic and legislative reform.
He said that Egypt’s reform programme takes into account a number of challenges, the most important of which is inflation, and focuses on attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), especially from British investors. For this reason, he explained, Egypt is working to reassure foreign investors with fully-prepared projects.
He went on to say that Egypt’s economy depends on the free market, with evidence that the private sector will drive development in the coming years.
He went on to say that Egypt brought in $1.8bn in FDI during the first quarter of FY 2014/2015 and that the goal is to end the year with $10bn in FDI.
Salman explained that the Egyptian capital market performs the best in the region, which confirms that the Egyptian economy is on the right path. Egypt’s economy, he said, is attractive for investments.
He mentioned that Egypt’s economy is growing despite a global economic slow-down, which evidences its ability to attract more FDI, calling for the British financial society to increase its investments and attend Egypt’s Economic Summit in March.
British Government Minister at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Tobias Ellwood said that the UK’s relationship with Egypt was distinct in commercial terms, explaining that he himself loved Egypt and had visited the Nile River and the Red Sea.
He went on to say that talks were underway with the British prime minister to develop relations between the two countries, commenting that this was the largest trade delegation from the UK to visit Egypt, demonstrating the UK’s commitment to increasing investment between the two countries. He said that the nation would participate in Egypt’s Economic Summit to study the investment opportunities available in the areas of energy and otherwise.
He revealed that the British financial community was very interested in developing the economic situation, which has begun to improve in Egypt, adding that the British economy is one of the largest European economies, following Germany.
He revealed that the itinerary of the visit will set the characteristics of commercial and investment cooperation between the two countries in the future, and bilateral meetings will be held between Egyptian and British companies.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb said that the British delegation’s visit would open several areas of cooperation between the two countries, especially since Egypt was in a building phase for all fields.
He revealed that the UK invested $1.5bn in Egypt, representing the largest European investor in the country, and expressing his hopes that the visit would be fruitful during an important period for jumpstarting the Egyptian economy.
He went on to say that Egypt would fight to overcome the challenges set before it with a vision to achieve high economic growth rates. He stressed that the visit was extremely important in light of the upcoming Economic Summit, and that gargantuan efforts were underway to organise the conference.
Mehleb revealed that several major financial institutions and companies from across the globe expressed willingness to attend the Economic Summit.
The government has reviewed the package of laws designed to improve the business environment, and will issue a unified investment law very soon, granting legal authority to one body only in order to serve investors’ needs.
He said that the government is working to control the budget deficit so that it does not surpass 10% for FY 2014/2015, noting that the government is now constructing 240,000 housing units for citizens as a move toward achieving social justice.
He said that the government is also fighting to strengthen the confidence of the international financial and business community through enacting legislative, administrative, and economic reforms, as well as completing the final steps of the roadmap through holding parliamentary elections in March.