Egypt will achieve GDP growth of 3.5% in fiscal year (FY) 2020/2021 if the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak comes to an end, according to Hala El-Said, Minister of Planning and Economic Development.
If the pandemic continues until December 2020, however, it is anticipated that GDP will decline by 2%, she added.
El-Said’s remarks came during an open dialogue, carried out via videoconference, with a group of Egyptian expatriate businessmen on Friday, in the presence of Minister of Emigration and Egyptian Expatriates Affairs, Nabila Makram.
The dialogue tackled global economic developments, especially those related to globalisation trends and digital transformation, and expected consumption patterns and global demand trends. Also on the table of discussions were developments in the tourism industry, how Egypt can benefit from these transformations and what opportunities they see available to Egypt in the post-coronavirus world
“Egypt is the only country that is expected to achieve positive GDP per capita growth rates in MENA economies, according to the World Bank’s Statistical Capacity Indicator,” she said.
El-Said added that some sectors will take time to recover, while others have considerable resilience and flexibility that will help them to recover rapidly. It is anticipated that the agriculture, information and communication technology (ICT), pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and construction sectors will be among those with most resilience.
These sectors will play a crucial role in Egypt’s economic growth, El-Said explained. She added that the ongoing health crisis has caused global losses worth $5.5trn, due to supply and demand disruptions. This has in turn affected global value chains, halted manufacturing worldwide, whilst also seeing a decline in wages and increase in unemployment rates.
El-Said revealed GDP growth in FY 2019/2020is expected to reach 4.2%, with a slowdown in the third and fourth quarters to 4.5% and 1%, respectively.
Dialogue attendees included Ahmed Jalal Ismail, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Real Estate, Marwan Al Arabi, a partner at international law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP, Bishoy Azmi, CEO of Al Shafar General Contracting (ASGC), Sam Ayad, CEO of Smartbill Pty Ltd, Ahmed Rustom, Senior Financial Specialist at the World Bank, and Karim Asaad, Founder and Director of Brooks & Kempton, among others.
Makram called on the business community to submit their proposals on integrating expatriate Egyptians into the local economy, as the state seeks to facilitate investment opportunities for them.