El-Sisi’s remarks were part of the speech delivered at the eighth Annual Meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which kicked off in Sharm El-Sheikh on Monday.
He stated that to bridge the gap in its infrastructure, Egypt had two options: either the state presses ahead with ambitious investment plans to finance infrastructure projects to boost the Egyptian economy, or it encourages the private sector to collaborate with the state on these projects.
The president noted that despite being able to carry out these projects successfully, the private sector would have consumed much time, stressing that during the past eight years, the Egyptian state did everything in its power to “ fill this gap and build basic infrastructure across all sectors”.
Egypt has become “developed and capable” thanks to the trillions of dollars and pounds it spent on building this infrastructure, which has set the country on the path to a better economic future, El-Sisi added.
He noted, however, that private sector companies actively participated in these projects, stressing that nearly 5,000 companies have worked with the state on them.
Furthermore, the president confirmed that Egypt has the “political will” to encourage the private sector to steer development in Egypt, highlighting the recent measures taken by the state to level the field between the public and private sectors.
El-Sisi also shed light on the State Ownership Policy Document, issued in December 2022 as part of the country’s plan to increase the private sector's participation in public investment from 30 percent to 65 percent within three years.
The document identifies the sectors from which the state plans to withdraw, decrease, or increase its presence over the coming three years.
Moreover, the president stated that Egypt’s Supreme Council of Investment issued up to 22 decrees to provide incentives for the private sector to operate in Egypt.
El-Sisi also said Egypt announced that it would grant 5-10-year tax exemptions for any company wishing to work on one or more of the 150 projects the state deems a priority.
In addition, he pointed to the government’s decision to abolish tax exemptions for state entities and affiliated companies to apply the principle of parity of treatment between the private and public sectors.
The president also noted that Egypt has extended licensing rights to new industries in the free zones.
On a different note, El-Sisi stressed that emerging economies need "multilateral institutions" such as AIIB to provide more low-cost investment, especially in light of the difficult circumstances in the world today following the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.
He said that Egypt appreciates the crucial role that the AIIB has played in its economy in recent years, highlighting that AIIB’s investments in Egypt stand at $ 1.3 billion.
El-Sisi also commended the AIIB’s unprecedented level of growth and the AAA “Stable Outlook” rating it received from an internationally recognized statistical rating organization such as Fitch.
In conclusion, the president highlighted that the AIIB was the second multilateral development bank (MDB) with a financial portfolio worth $1 billion, describing the AIIB's disbursement of $ 44 billion to over 50 countries to carry out 232 projects as “astonishing.”