Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Hala El-Said, has participated in a conference, entitled “Major Global Transformations: Future Prospects for the Egyptian Economy”, organized by the Faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo University.
During her speech, El-Said reviewed the development experience of Egypt in recent years and the efforts of the Egyptian state to achieve economic reform, pointing to the great political, economic, and social changes and challenges that Egypt has witnessed and the consequent accumulation of structural imbalances that the Egyptian economy has suffered from for many decades, which negatively affected most macroeconomic indicators, as well as the severity of challenges having increased in light of the political and economic changes, both regionally and internationally, and the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and its associated negative economic and social health effects.
El-Said added that the state has set the Egypt Vision 2030 “to represent the national version of the UN goals to achieve sustainable development and the general framework organizing interim plans and programs for work over the coming years.” The government’s implementation of many reforms has led to the first phase of the national program for economic and social reform since November 2016, aimed at achieving macro stability and comprehensive growth, which was reflected in the positive indicators that the Egyptian economy witnessed during 2020 and before the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis.
The minister noted that the rate of economic growth before the crisis reached about 5.6% in the first half of fiscal year 2019/20 and about 5% during the third quarter of 2019/20, with an average growth of 5.4% in the first nine months of the year, until the Covid-19 crisis came and affected the decline in several economic indicators.
She explained that the reform efforts and the diversity of the Egyptian economy in the sectors have contributed to the Egyptian economy becoming more flexible and able to absorb external economic shocks, including the increasing regional dangers and the coronavirus crisis, so the expectations of international institutions were positive about the Egyptian economy, which is the only economy in the region that achieved positive growth rates in light of the crisis.
El-Said stressed that the Egyptian government has taken a set of proactive policies that have relied on a clear and well-thought-out plan targeting all groups and sectors to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
El-Said emphasized that the corona crisis resulted in a rearrangement of the priorities of all countries and an emphasis on the importance of several areas, foremost of which are the sectors of healthcare and social protection, education, and digital transformation.
El-Said explained that the health and education sectors are of the utmost importance to the Egyptian state, as they are the main tool for development and building human capabilities and the main entry point for the progress of society. The state attaches importance to the telecommunications sector in the framework of enhancing the trend towards digital transformation, she said, noting the high volume of investments directed to this sector in the 2020/21 plan at about EGP 10bn, an increase of about 300%.
She added that the industrial sector is also one of the main sectors on which the state’s efforts are based to achieve sustainable growth, diversify the production structure, and create decent and productive work opportunities, as the corona crisis has demonstrated the necessity of localizing some industries, including medical products and increasing self-sufficiency ratios among them, in addition to deepening agricultural industrialization, localizing the products of the telecommunications sector, making trains and railway requirements, and manufacturing household appliances and the furniture industry, in order to take advantage of the changes in global supply chains to access new markets in which Egyptian products enjoy competitive advantages.