“Investment in Egypt ...Challenges and opportunities”
A state of optimism pervaded investment cycles and businessmen after the issuance of the new investment law, high hopes of ending all investment problems, attracting capital, moving markets out of recession and boosting rates of the economic sectors. In light of this, there is another state of anticipation for the issuance of the executive regulations of the law, and whether it will restore confidence to the Egyptian investment climate or not. In this context CEBC & ECSD organized an event with H.E. Dr. Sahar Nasr Minister of Investment & International Cooperation to discuss the topic "Investment in Egypt… opportunities and challenges’.
In the opening remarks, Eng. Moataz Raslan, cited an old philosopher’s quote "Who does not know the target does not know the way" noting that the Egyptian investment sectors and the business community after the issuance of the new investment law has been in a state of confusion. Currently, there are high hopes to end all the problems of investment, attract capital and move the market towards development; as the government has taken several decisions to stimulate investment. Then, he praised the role of Dr. Sahar Nasr in improving the investment environment. Eng. Raslan added that failure is a success because we learned from it; he stressed that in light of this optimism & after the issuance of the new investment law, there is still a state of anticipation which should be clearly discussed.
On the other hand, Dr. Effat Al-Sadat, member of Canada Egypt Business Council, expressed his happiness at the selection of Forbes magazine the Minister Dr. Sahar Nasr among the top 10 Arab women in the governmental sector and the first among the Egyptian women. He also pointed to the role of the Egyptian banks in the current stage towards Economic development.
Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, announced that the ministry launched the service "Find yourself" through the website of the Ministry and the General Authority for Investment, to allow investors to establish their companies online, without going to the investor service center, noting that the investor contact center was launched via the hotline to communicate with the investor and respond to queries.
The minister pointed out that the time has a price on the economy of Egypt, noting that the ministry gave the investor three alternatives to facilitate the procedures, whether through the service center investors or offices accredited to the Center or the normal procedures through the ministries concerned; noting that the executive regulations clarifies all procedures that facilitate the work of the investor, stressing that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi confirmed his support for the private sector. The minister added that the ministry is working in the legislative framework to improve the investment environment.
The minister pointed out that the ministry is working on the completion of the investment map in coordination with all ministries such as health, oil, transport and electricity, explaining that the map contains about 600 investment opportunities. She stressed that there will be no integrated development without the transportation sector and infrastructure, and taking advantage of the ports, noting that it is possible to establish any startup company online.
The minister said that the ministry is working on pumping investments in all sectors such as the infrastructure, industry, agriculture, transport and oil. She pointed out that the Bank of Egypt will be located in the investor’s service center next to the Bank of Alexandria, noting that the investor service center according to the new investment law will include representatives of 74 entities to facilitate procedures for investors.
It was mentioned that the ministry is working with all parties that contribute to increasing Egypt's ranking in the Doing Business Report. She expressed her pleasure in launching this program in the Stock Exchange. She pointed out that the Prime Minister, H.E Sherif Ismail, has started with the oil sector in the program in order to give support to the stock exchange.
The discussion moved to how the ministry is moving quickly to establish a basic infrastructure in all governorates to encourage delivery of both the sanitation and gas to the homes, stating the effect of free zones on the investment law, as they have an important role in increasing egyptian exports, stressing that the ministry is keen to put controls on these areas to prevent any attempts to smuggle, indicating their desire to increase the number of companies in the free zones. The minister stressed that the government is more keen on the participation of the private sector to improve the investment climate, noting that the new investment law set incentives and guarantees for the area’s most in need. The minister pointed out that the ministry has decided to allocate an office to facilitate business for businesswomen from Egypt and various countries in the investor service center, pointing out that during the last quarter of this year a Forum will be held for the economic empowerment of women in recognition of Egypt's efforts to empower women.
The minister pointed out that the ministry is working to expand the free zones in the provinces under the framework of the trend to inject new investments in these areas, noting that all the global indicators confirm that small and medium enterprises will be the provider of jobs, stressing that the ministry requires development partners to allocate 50% of grants to small and medium-sized enterprises and prioritize the areas most in need.The minister pointed out that the program of the stock exchange is not a privatization program, but a step to expand the rules of ownership in the market, pointing out that Egypt is in a competitive position with the rest of the world to attract investors. Accordingly it worked to develop incentives for them, explaining that the government aims to build confidence with that sector to be attracted to more investments and working as a team.
The floor was then opened for questions and answers session, where it was mentioned that the economic program is Egypt's program and not the government program only. It was developed in partnership with all sectors of the population, calling on citizens to participate in the "Share Egypt Progress" initiative to present any problems or suggestions in its governorates.