US treasury secretary praises Egyptian economic reforms

Marwa Hussein, Waad Ahmed, Monday 27 Oct 2014

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is in Cairo for discussions with Egyptian government ministers and business leaders

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (L) and Egypt's Finance Minister Hany Dimian address reporters during a joint news conference at the Egyptian Ministry of Finance in Cairo, October 27, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

The United States government supports Egypt's economic reforms and is working to encourage the US business community to invest in the country, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Monday.

In a rare visit to Cairo, Lew urged the Egyptian government to continue with its reform programme and said the US would send a mission to Egypt in November to prepare for the investment summit scheduled for early next year.

Lew is scheduled to meet with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and the governor of the Central Bank of Egypt.

"The US government is working closely with the US private sector to showcase steps the Egypt has taken to improve the investment environment," Lew said during a joint press conference with the Egyptian Finance Minister Hany Qadry Demian.

Since El-Sisi became president in June, the Egyptian government has taken major steps aimed at fiscal consolidation, including cutting energy subsidies by up to 78 percent, and introducing new taxes.

"We discussed the future of economic relations between Egypt and the US.  The visit has a very significant and big message for our mutual economic interests," Qadry said.

A major economic summit aimed at encouraging international investment in Egypt will be held on 21-22 February in the resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh.

Egypt needs at least $28 billion in private sector investment if it is to achieve its growth target of 3.5 percent by the end of the current fiscal year in June, Investment Minister Ashraf Salam said last month. 

The Egyptian macroeconomic fiscal plan has set a target of six percent growth per year after five years, compared to 2.2 percent in the fiscal year ending in June 2014.

Lew will also have meetings with eight Egyptian entrepreneurs at the American University in Cairo, a source from the US embassy in Cairo told Ahram Online.

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