Former head of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) Hani Sarie El-Din has said that despite all the positive outcomes from Egypt’s economic reform programme, especially over the past two years, there are serious challenges that need to be overcome for the reforms to succeed.
Sarie El-Din said that Egypt is still at the mid-point in implementing the economic reforms it started in November 2016.
Sarie El-Din made the statements during the Egypt Economic Summit held on Tuesday under the patronage of Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.
According to Sarie El-Din, these challenges include the low export levels and the increase in the trade balance deficit by 13.5 percent. This has led to an increase in imports, which puts pressure on the trade balance account despite the increase in non-petroleum exports.
The challenges also include rising poverty rates and the modest rates of the foreign direct investments (FDI), as well as the decline in consumer spending, which could cause an economic recession, Sarie El-Din said.
"Egypt needs to handle the trade balance deficit, improve the performance of the manufacturing and export sectors, and focus on increasing consumer spending to avoid the likely economic recession. And one of the most important measures in this phase is dealing with shrinking real estate demand, which has negatively impacted the Egyptian economy in general and banking sector in particular, as this is a core instrument in financing the real estate sector," Sarie El-Din said.
He added that the domestic market needs about 700 job opportunities to be created annually, and that this could be achieved if the government works on attracting more FDI flows.