Egyptian Minister of Finance Amr El-Garhy met Sunday with a trade delegation consisting of chairpersons of the largest 25 French corporations in Egypt. The visit was organised by the French ambassador to Egypt, Stefan Roumtier, and BNP Paribas, with the aim to enhance trade cooperation between both countries in different sectors.
El-Garhy briefed the delegation on the government’s economic and social reform programme, which aims to achieve high and sustainable growth characterised by efficiency and justice. The minister stressed that Egypt seeks to increase employment rates, improve public services, and implement massive national projects that contribute to creating new societies.
The first phase of Egypt’s economic reforms was based on two main pillars: applying a real local exchange rate and decreasing energy subsidies, according to El-Garhy.
He pointed out that the programme also aims to reduce the budget deficit from 10.9% in the previous fiscal year (FY) of 2016/17 to 9.5% in the current FY 2017/18. He added that the government wants the retail sector to expand nationwide using help of major chains operating in the market to reduce transportation costs and, thus, the final prices customers pay.
During the meeting, Roumtier praised Egypt’s economic reform programme and stressed his country’s support to the Egyptian government’s attempts to recover the national economy. He stressed that France encourages its companies to increase investments in Egypt.
Roughly 150 French companies operate in Egypt, with investments worth about $4bn, providing 40,000-50,000 jobs in the sectors of food industry, construction, energy, telecommunications, retail, banking, software, pharmaceuticals, transport, and tourism.
Youssef Beshay from BNP Paribas said that the meeting comes in the framework of the bank’s campaign to promote the Egyptian economic reform programme among foreign investors. It coincides with French sporting equipment companies’ intention to establish themselves in the Egyptian market for the first time, while other French companies aim to use Egypt as an exporting hub to African and Turkish markets.
A number of foreign trade delegations visited Egypt in the recent period, where they met with high-level Egyptian officials to explore new investment opportunities in the country.
Egypt expects another visit by a large delegation of major US companies next month to discuss injecting new investments in Egypt in light of the new opportunities announced.
As part of its plan to improve the investment environment, Egypt has been implementing an economic reform programme to reduce budget deficits and streamline investment laws. Last November witnessed the main step of the country’s economic reform as the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) floated the Egyptian pound to push its value closer to real-market level.