World Economy

Contracts, MoUs Worth $138b Signed

Contracts, MoUs Worth $138b SignedContracts, MoUs Worth $138b Signed

The three-day Egypt economic development conference concluded on Sunday, with 90 countries and regions as well as 25 international organizations participating. The event saw some $138 billion worth of contracts and MoUs signed.

Among the deals announced on the final day of the conference were gas drilling works of the country’s north coast, totaling a potential $4 billion, to be undertaken by two Egyptian energy firms, Al-Ahram online reported Monday.

They join a $10b package with German engineering and technology firm Siemens to develop new gas and wind-powered electricity generation capacity.

Other major deals announced during the conference included an agreement with oil multinational BP to commence works worth up to $12 billion.

Dubai-based Majd al-Futtaim Group has agreed to increase its real estate investments in Egypt by $5 billion over the next five years, according to the Investment Ministry.

The government has also signed a $45b agreement with an Emirati company to develop a new administrative capital east of Cairo.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb said agreements had been signed for investments worth $36b over the course of the three-day event.

Analysts say that while the investments announced will create jobs and boost economic growth, the Persian Gulf aid will help Egypt keep up its foreign reserves and assure its ability to meet its import needs.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) signed a joint declaration with the Ministry of International Cooperation to support priority sectors over the next three years, they said in a joint press release.

The Egyptian economy has been hard hit by the years of turbulence that followed the 2011 revolution against long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak.

  Egypt Needs $300b in Investments

Egypt needs hundreds of billions of dollars in investments to rebuild an economy struggling to recover from years of political unrest, the cash-strapped Arab country’s president said Sunday.

In a speech marking the end of the conference in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi reiterated his commitment to peace and growth as he sought more investments from the international community.

Sisi, in his concluding remarks, said his country would need a lot more, as much as $300 billion over the coming years, to make its economy strong enough to give its vast population a genuine chance to prosper.

“I know Egypt and its problems and I can see them as I can see you now. I know the solutions as I see you now. Egypt needs no less than $200 to $300 billion to have real hope for the 90 million Egyptians to really live, really work, and really be happy,” Sisi said.

“We are behind, and those who are late must either speed-walk or run…even running will not be enough in our case,” he added.

Egypt was emerging as a top destination for growth-hungry foreign capital before its economy was left in tatters due to political unrest following the revolution in 2011.

Sisi hoped his growth plans for the country would be backed by potential investors as he called on them to reduce their profit margins for the sake of Egypt, while speeding up their projects.

One of Egypt’s biggest challenges is tackling unemployment. About two-thirds of the North African country’s 90 million people are under the age of 40, while 30 million people are at employment age.

To that extent, launching massive infrastructure projects would not only boost the economy but also help create jobs quickly.

The International Monetary Fund in February said that recently enacted economic measures have boosted Egypt’s prospects for growth, which will also help reduce the country’s double-digit unemployment rate.

But for Egypt to attract the massive investments it seeks, the country will have to deliver on the promises it has made at the conference, and execute the development projects it has launched, analysts said.