Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr, second from left, speaking at "Economic Transformation in Digital Markets" session on Saturday in Washington (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Investment)
Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr said Egypt was reaping the benefits of its economic reform programme as it maintained its position as the first foreign direct investment (FDI) destination in Africa in 2018 despite the declining FDI flows by 41 percent in the first half of 2018.
Nasr was speaking at the "Economic Transformation in Digital Markets" session on Saturday on the sidelines of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual meetings in Washington.
The session participants praised Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, as chairman of the African Union in its current round, for launching the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), especially that Africa is one of the biggest free trade regions in the world with a GDP of $3.4 trillion, which increases the continent's competitiveness globally and attract more investments.
Nasr clarified that Egypt had worked on increasing investment flows to Africa through joint collaboration in infrastructure, renewable energy, communications and information technology sectors, among other, as part of Africa Vision 2063 that aims to achieve inclusive social and economic development.
She pointed out that Egypt was seeking more integration in the global and regional value chains in autos, chemicals, and food industries through increasing its competitiveness, thereby increasing trade and generating more jobs.
Nasr called on global private sector corporations and multinational enterprises to invest in Africa, as the markets are opened and have eligible investment conditions. She also called on continental, regional, and international fund corporations to play a role in financing development efforts in Africa and providing financial securities for the sake of building up Africa's capabilities to enhance trade and increase investment.
The Egyptian minister's statements were made as the IMF Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department Jihad Azour said developments achieved through Egypt's economic reform programme would help the economy receive more direct investments.
Speaking at a press conference held as part of the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank, Azour praised the progress achieved by Egypt, especially with regards to its macroeconomic indicators, saying that the country’s financial position had notably improved and so has its foreign currency reserves. He pointed out to the gradual decline in inflation rate, expected to decrease by four or five percent at the end of the fiscal year.
Elaborating on that point, Azour said the significant drop in inflation rates gave the Central Bank of Egypt the chance to reduce interest rates, noting that Egypt’s economic reform programme targeted improving the economy and providing a social protection net for the marginalised and most vulnerable groups of society.
He promised continued IMF support for Egypt, noting that the country had made tangible progress pertaining to economic stability and introducing structural reforms that aim at strengthening economic growth and backing the pivotal role played by the private sector in generating jobs.