Egypt to be 'fantastic' industrial hub for exports, logistics: Kabil.
By: Yasmine Samra, Doaa Farid and Sara Ghali CAIRO -- 19 September 2017: "Egypt could be a fantastic industrial hub for exports and logistics as well," Minister of Trade Tarek Kabil said Tuesday speaking about the ministry's five-year plan on the second day of the Eutomoney Egypt Conference. Egypt has all the economic competition potentials, including the qualified labor, industrial rapid growth, in addition to the keenness of the government on enhancing the investment environment, the minister noted. Kabil added that Egypt has regained its place on the global economic map and succeeded to pass the first and second phases of the comprehensive economic reform plan, which contributed to achieving positive growth rate. In an interview during the second day of the Euromoney Egypt Conference, Kabil announced that Egypt's government will sign Tuesday an agreement for the first industrial city in Egypt, which will be located north of Fayoum governorate. Kabil added that the city will be stretching over 33 million square meters. The minister noted that the government has built three industrial complexes so far for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) since last year, as SMEs form 70 percent of the economy. Kabil said that the ministry is keen on building industrial complexes not just zones, which will be including clusters, houses and schools. "The industrial opportunities' map will help investors and SMEs know where to invest," Kabil noted. The minister highlighted that among the issues investors faced was the lack of availability of land plots. "2015 was the worst year in terms of deficit in the trade balance, hitting $52.9 billion. Since January 2017 till now, the deficit in the trade balance was reduced by 37 percent," Kabil added. Commenting on the informal economy, Kabil said that it is not about taxes but about the economic growth. "Global trade is slowing down," the minister said, adding that in 2015 it grew by 2.6 percent, while in 2016, it saw an increase by 1.8 percent. This year, the growth forecast is 2.4 percent. The minister noted that the government is focusing on labor-intensive projects and high foreign direct investment (FDI) level to help Egypt's economy grow. The ministry has offered 16 million square meters in 2016 and the first half of 2017, which doubles what was offered in eight years from 20017 to 2015. "Egyptian industry has recorded unpreceded growth rates of 33 percent in last June,"Kabil said quoting the Economist economic magazine. Talking about the ministry's progress since the last Euromoney, Kabil highlighted that the ministry has issued the industrial permits law and regulations, in addition to the advance in the EgyTrade network. Kabil noted that the World Trade Organization's (WTO) expectations showed that the global trade rates will rise by 2.4 percent, where it would stand between 2.1 percent and 4 percent. The two--day conference kicked off on Monday in Cairo and saw interviews with the Minister of Finance Amr El-Garhy, Chairman of the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) and a number of investment banks and mega firms.
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