Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala al-Saeed held an expanded video conference seminar with representatives from 70 French companies to discuss investment opportunities in the Egyptian economy during the post-pandemic era.
The French Ambassador in Cairo Stéphane Romatet participated in the seminar, alongside the head of the General Authority for the Suez Canal Economic Zone Yahya Zaki, and the head of Egypt’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Ayman Soliman.
Romatet said that this is the right time to invest in Egypt and discuss all available opportunities. Egypt is currently witnessing rapid changes and high growth despite the current challenges, he added.
The ambassador also noted that relations between Egypt and France are at their highest level, with over 160 French companies currently operating in Egypt.
Saeed said that Egypt is proud of its cooperation with France side in various fields, and noted the importance of France’s efforts to help achieve sustainable development in several countries around the world.
She expressed her appreciation towards France’s role in supporting Egypt’s sustainable growth.
The world is going through an unprecedented challenge, Saeed added, with damages exceeding those of the 2008 financial crisis.
The Egyptian economy was in good condition before the start of the pandemic, she pointed out, having achieved a growth rate of 5.6 percent by the end of 2019.
Had it not been for the coronavirus, Egypt would have reached a six percent growth rate this year.
“January and February witnessed an increase in growth rates before the negative impact of the pandemic,” she explained.
Yet even despite the repercussions brought on by the pandemic, Egypt managed to achieve growth once the state intervened to support several sectors affected by the crisis, she said.
Saeed explained that the state’s economic and social reform program initiated during 2016 contributed to Egypt being able to weather the pandemic.
And expectations by certain international institutions indicated that Egypt will be one of the economies able to best face the negative consequences of pandemic and perform the best compared to other emerging economies.
“Unemployment rates were on the rise before 2016, and growth rates witnessed a remarkable decline before the start of the implementation of the Egyptian economic reform program,” she added.
The Egyptian state has made every effort to reduce the pandemic’s negative impacts on citizens represented by its support of sectors such as tourism.
She explained that the Egyptian government also provided support for irregular employment in the form of a monthly grant, extending its disbursement for an additional three months.
Many sectors have maintained good performance rates during the coronavirus pandemic such as the agriculture and communications sector, she noted.
“Egypt has arranged its priorities in the investment plan for the year 2020-2021, which aims to enhance investments in the health sector as well as the telecommunications sector after the world realized that it is necessary to accelerate access to an integrated digital economy.” She explained.
Saeed said that Egypt is interested in achieving fruitful investments with France in various sectors. She added that her nation’s doors are open for various French companies to begin pumping their investments and utilize its various resources such as skilled labor.