Egypt's Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait said that Egypt's improved economic growth is expected to further increase in the coming period on the back of increased private consumption and private investment.
Maait said that the realised growth has been well-diversified across all sectors of the economy, including manufacturing, tourism, construction, trade, and oil and gas, generating new job opportunities, which has driven unemployment down to 7.5 percent in June 2019, down from 12 percent in FY2016/2017.
Maait made the remarks in a speech on the government’s economic reform programme over the past few years and the positive outcomes as a result of this process. The minister gave the speech at the American University in Cairo (AUC) during a celebration of the AUC centennial.
Sharing facts and figures about the economic reform programme and its progress, Maait explained that the Egyptian economy’s growth rate recorded 5.6 percent in FY2018/2019, making it one of the top growth performers among all emerging markets in the region.
“The aim of the programme was to achieve private-led, sustainable and inclusive growth, job creation, fiscal discipline and social justice. Consequently, as a result of the rigorous implementation of reforms, the Egyptian economy has shown significant signs of improvement," Maait said.
Moreover, as Maait illustrated, the government has already started introducing laws that aim to create an environment that would foster private sector participation in the economy, such as industrial licensing and procurement laws.
Maait noted that the impacts of these reforms on middle and lower-income populations in Egypt have been mitigated with the Takaful and Karama programme, increased food subsidies, and increased pensions and salaries.
“And while all of that is still not enough, I believe it is most important we invest more in human capital development, health, education and public utilities in order to reduce the burden on the people,” Maait said.
Following his talk, Maait sat with AUC President Francis Ricciardone for a Q&A session during which he discussed the ministry’s plans to further strengthen the Egyptian pound and the importance of investing in education and healthcare in the upcoming years.
“We appreciate the vision Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait shared with us, and we remain keen to take part in Egypt’s bold plans for development and economic growth,” Ricciardone said.
Held at the AUC’s New Cairo Campus, the talk was attended by the AUC’s Board of Trustees and experts in the fields of economy, business and education.