Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi during a meeting with representatives from the Qatari Businessmen Association in Cairo on Saturday 29 October 2022 (Photo: the official Facbook page of the Egyptian Presidential Spokesman)
Foremost among these projects is the development of the Suez Canal Zone, which includes a host of industrial and logistical areas, El-Sisi said during a meeting in Cairo on Saturday on the sidelines of Egypt's first International Forum and Exhibition for Industry, which opened earlier today.
The president explained that this offers "promising opportunities for Qatari companies seeking to benefit from Egypt's strategic location and the free trade agreements that link it with different continents and geographical regions."
The meeting was the second between the Egyptian president and Qatari businessmen since the two countries resumed ties following the Al-Ula Declaration that ended a three-and-half-year diplomatic and economic boycott that Egypt and three of the GCC members – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE – had placed on Qatar.
During the meeting, the president "praised the positive developments in the economic and trade relations between the two brotherly countries," Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement following the meeting.
Egypt, El-Sisi also noted, is keen on promoting economic and trade ties with the Qatari businessmen as well as reinforcing joint investments to support the development process in both countries.
Faisal Bin Qassim Al-Thani, head of the QBA, stressed during the meeting the association's aspiration to explore the possibilities for maximising cooperation with Egypt.
"Many fields and promising investment opportunities are available in Egypt, especially in the sectors of renewable energy, agriculture, industry and mining," he added.
Furthermore, heads and representatives of Qatari companies affirmed their keenness to intensify cooperation with Egypt to achieve the common interests of both sides, the presidential spokesman added.
They also reviewed their plans to invest in Egypt, urging for activating the role of the Egyptian-Qatari business council, according to Rady.
The meeting was attended by Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker, Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla, Planning and Economic Development Minister Hala El-Said, and Minister of Trade and Industry Ahmed Samir.
President El-Sisi held his first meeting with Qatari businessmen in September during his first trip to Doha following the Al-Ula declaration.
In the wake of the declaration, the two countries signed a number of bilateral deals to bolster the economic ties and form the Egyptian-Qatari High Joint Committee – headed by the two foreign ministers – in March.
Also, following talks between Egyptian and Qatari officials in Cairo in March, a Qatari package of $5 billion in investments and partnerships in Egypt was also announced.
Egypt is seeking to attract local, Arab and international investors to increase the private sector's participation in public investments to 65 percent, up from 30 percent currently, to take advantage of the new State Ownership Policy that delineates the state’s presence in certain sectors of the economy.
According to the policy, which is set to be launched soon, the government will exit 15 economic activities across seven sectors over the coming three years, including agriculture, water, sanitation, desalination, telecom and IT, retail, food and beverage, and construction.
The government will also exit a number of activities across the leather, timber, engineering, jewellery, chemical, textile, printing, and pharmaceutical industries.
Earlier today, El-Sisi instructed the government to grant a "golden license" to all applying investors for three months to facilitate procedures for establishing priority projects for the state.
The license will grant investors approval to buy/rent lands and operate and manage projects without the need to gain approval from multiple government bodies.