Egypt has undertaken a number of critical reforms in recent years, but important work remains, according to Jonathan Cohen, US Ambassador to Egypt.
The Ambassador’s remarks came during a speech at a virtual webinar hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Egypt entitled “US-Egypt Partnership, and Outlook for 2021”.
“We want to help reduce red tape and barriers to international trade, and enhance trade facilitation,” the Ambassador said, “We aim to help Egypt improve its intellectual property rights system, so innovation can thrive, and we also want to work with AmCham to ensure a level playing field for the private sector.”
Cohen also said that, while the whole world has grappled with the worst pandemic in a century, in the form of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Egypt has weathered the crisis far better than most.
He said that the Egyptian Government’s economic reforms, carried out between 2016 and 2019 to pull the country’s economy back from the brink of crisis, were combined with its ambitious Vision 2030 development plan.
In addition to this, there were some well-considered programmes in direct response to the pandemic, which created the buffer that cushioned Egypt from the worst of COVID-19’s economic impacts.
“Thanks in large part to those policies, Egypt is the only country in the region whose economy actually grew over the past year, despite the pandemic, which translates into opportunities for US businesses,” Cohen said.
He lauded the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) recent highlight of Egypt’s strong fundamentals, whilst also lauding a government committed to reform.
Cohen predicted solid economic growth and recovery over 2021 and in the years ahead. The major ratings agencies, Fitch, S&P, and Moody’s, all share this assessment.
He said that investors are snapping up Egyptian bonds, including the region’s first-ever green bonds, issued last autumn.
The Ambassador noted that, in 2020, Egypt was the top destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa for the fifth consecutive year. The country was also one of the top regional destinations for venture capital, financial technology (FinTech), and information and communication technology (ICT) investments.