Egypt seeks ‘immediate’ release of goods at ports after Ras El-Hekma deal

Amr Kandil , Monday 4 Mar 2024

Egypt is aiming for the “immediate” release of all goods remaining at various ports nationwide a week after signing the $35 billion Ras El-Hekma investment deal with the United Arab Emirates.

PM meets key state officials
Egypt s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly holds a meeting with several state officials after President Sisi orders expediting measures to release goods at ports nationwide, March 4, 2024. Cabinet


The government hopes the deal, representing the largest foreign direct investment (FDI) in Egypt’s history, will help alleviate the country’s current severe shortage of hard currency.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi directed the government to expedite the immediate release of goods at the ports, a statement by the Cabinet said on Monday.

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) will coordinate with relevant ministries to release goods, especially food, medicine, fodder, and production requirements.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said these measures would help stabilize the market and reduce prices.

“Such measures are required to be completed as soon as possible to release these goods quickly. We are following up on this file round the clock,” Madbouly said.

Addressing shortages

Last week, Madbouly ordered a plan for the “gradual” release of all goods at the customs, with priority given to food, medicine, and fodder in a meeting with key state officials, including Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Hassan Abdalla.

The total value of food, medicine, and fodder currently held at customs stands at $1.3 billion.

The Cabinet asserted that prices of corn and soybeans have already decreased in response.

The $35 billion deal was signed in late February by Egypt's New Urban Communities Authority and the Abu Dhabi Development Holding Company to develop the magnificent Ras El-Hekma area on the North Coast.

Madbouly has expected the project to attract further a minimum of $150 billion during the implementation phases.

Egypt has received the first tranche of the deal, valued at $15 billion, within just a week of the deal, revitalizing an Egyptian economy grappling with a foreign currency shortage.

The crisis of goods stranded at Egyptian ports due to this shortage emerged after the start of the Ukraine war in February 2022, causing commodity prices to soar.

The state has successfully released goods worth tens of billions of dollars over the past two years from ports.

However, prices of many commodities have more than tripled over the past year and meat and poultry have become unaffordable for many amid increasing fodder prices.

Over the recent years, Egypt has undertaken measures aimed to “optimize the utilization of investment assets” and attract foreign currency investments amid the crisis, including a recent $800 million hotel acquisition deal.

Madbouly has said the Ras El-Hekma development project will pave the way for future FDI initiatives on Egypt's coasts

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