Minister of Industry and Trade Tarek Kabil revealed his vision and expectations of the Egyptian economy in 2017, noting that he is optimistic about the performance of the industrial sector, pushed by the recent economic reform measures.
In an interview with Daily News Egypt, Kabil added that his ministry is designing an ambitious strategy to boost Egyptian exports in the coming year.
How do you see the Egyptian economy in 2017?
The government has taken serious steps towards applying real economic reform to achieve sustainable growth, which will positively reflect on creating more jobs and attract direct and indirect investments.
Regarding the trade and industry sectors, I believe that 2017 will reap the fruits of the efforts made during the last year. The ministry plans to complete the establishment of the first three industrial parks which have small industries licenses in Sadat City, Badr City, and South Raswa in Port Said. This year will also witness the opening of a number of specialised industrial clusters, including new tanneries in Rubeiky City, furniture factories in Damietta, and a plastics city in Margham, Alexandria, which will make Egypt an industrial hub on the regional and international levels. The ministry will launch its industrial investments map in 2017, which includes investment opportunities and competitive advantages for each province separately. The ministry will also complete the development and rehabilitation of six industrial zones in Sohag and Qena, in the framework of the development of the industrial zones programme in Upper Egypt funded by the World Bank.
What is the ministry’s strategy for industrial development?
Industrial development is one of the most important parts of the ministry’s strategy, as we aim to increase the contribution of industrial growth to the GDP from 18% to 21% by 2020. This requires industrial growth to reach 8%. The plan aims to increase the contribution of the private sector and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the GDP to 10%. Additionally, the new industrial development plan targets to increase private investment rates from EGP 43bn to nearly EGP 100bn in 2020.
What about the ministry’s plan to increase exports?
The Industrial Development Plan 2020 aims to increase the volume of Egyptian exports and reduce the trade balance gap through annually increasing non-oil exports by 10%, to be raised from $18.6bn in 2015 to more than $30bn by 2020.
Therefore the ministry is implementing a number of programmes for the development of procedures governing export and import legislation, enhancing export competitiveness, developing logistics projects, activating international conventions, and promoting Egyptian exports.
The ministry will soon announce the establishment of a new authority for the development of exports, involving all associated agencies, to implement the ministry’s plan to increase exports. The ministry will work on activating the role of the Export Development Bank of Egypt (EDBE) to carry out its main role of development and promotion of Egyptian exports to various foreign markets. The ministry also seeks to link all ports electronically to facilitate import and export.
Does the ministry plan to enter new international markets, particularly the African markets?
The ministry is adopting an ambitious plan to enter more foreign markets, particularly the African markets, which represents one of the most promising markets for Egyptian products. The ministry is now working on increasing the direct shipping lines with the African countries as well as the establishment of logistics centres in some areas to facilitate marketing Egyptian products in Africa.
The ministry’s plan also targets Eurasian markets, which includes Russia, Belarus, Armenia, and Kazakhstan. The coming period will witness the start of free-trade negotiations between Egypt and the Eurasian Economic Union, which will open a new export window for Egyptian products. In addition, the Egyptian government is working to complete the ratification procedures on the Mercosur agreement between Egypt and the Mercosur bloc, which includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Paraguay.