Egyptian economy troubled but GDP to grow by 5.5 pct in two years: PM
In his first official report to the newly elected Parliament, Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri paints a gloomy picture of the current economy but suggests better is to come
Ahram Online, Sunday 26 Feb 2012
El-Ganzoury stresses agriculture as key to growth but failed to specify sources of funding for his plans (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt's growth rate is expected to reach 5.5 per cent within two years, Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri told parliament on Sunday.
El-Ganzouri was speaking in front of Egypt's newly-elected people's assembly to provide a report on the interim government's progress.
His 20-minute address began with an overview of the economy before he presented a strategy for future development.
The picture he painted of the economy was a gloomy one.
"Following the revolution we were promised large amounts of funds by western and Arab countries," the 76-year old prime minister said. "But very few of these promised funds have materialised."
Some $10 billion worth of funds exited the country in early 2011, he added.
El-Ganzouri went on to list some of the major economic challenges Egypt is facing, including rising unemployment, surging debt and a scarcity of investment.
Despite these, he predicted a recovery in Egypt's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in two years' time.
"We project growth rate for the coming [financial] year 2012/2013 to reach 3-3.5 per cent and to edge to 5-5.5 per cent the following year," Ganzouri said.
Between 2004 and 2011, Egypt saw rapid growth in its GDP of an average of 5 per cent a year.
El-Ganzouri went on to outline an ambitious vision for Egypt's future which involved expanding the country's cultivated lands from the narrow Nile Delta into its abundant desert.
"The only chance for survival is to expand beyond the Nile valley and increase the amount of cultivated land," Ganzouri said.
"In 1805, we had a population of 3 million and around 3 million feddans of cultivated land. That's 1 feddan per capita. Now the proportion is 150 square metres of land per capita. This is a situation that needs to be fixed."
El- Ganzouri served as Egypt prime minister for three years in the late 1990s. He was reappointed in late November last year after a new wave of popular protests.