Fri, 16 Oct 2020 - 03:15 GMT
Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Hala El-Said - Press photo
CAIRO - 16 October 2020: Egypt’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Hala El-Said held an expanded seminar via video conference with representatives of 70 French companies to discuss expectations and opportunities in the Egyptian economy in the post-Corona pandemic era.
The seminar also witnessed the presence of the French ambassador in Cairo, Stefan Romate, Head of the General Authority for the Suez Canal Economic Zone, Yahya Zaki, and Egypt’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, Mr. Ayman Soliman.
During the meeting, El-Said said that Egypt is proud of the cooperation with the French side in various fields and at all levels, noting the importance of France's role in working to achieve sustainable development goals in several countries around the world, appreciating the French role in supporting Egypt in this field.
El-Said referred to the role played by the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development is working to achieve the investment plans of the Egyptian government, explaining that the ministry is preparing development plans that are consistent with Egypt's Vision 2030.
Moreover, she noted that the government is working on preparing annual development plans and supervising the distribution of public investments in various sectors of the state and ministries.
The Minister of Planning asserted that the world is going through an unprecedented crisis, which is the Corona pandemic, which is extremely harmful at all, levels, including the economic side, noting that its damages exceed the financial crisis that struck the world for nearly a decade.
El-Said indicated that the Egyptian economy was in good condition before the start of the Corona crisis, as a growth rate of 5.6% was achieved by the end of 2019.
El-Said added that in the absence of the Corona pandemic, a growth rate of 6% would have been achieved during the current year.
“January and February of this year 2020 witnessed an increase in growth rates before the negative impact of the pandemic,” she said.
El-Said pointed out that despite the negative impact of the Corona pandemic, Egypt achieved growth after the state intervened to support several sectors affected by the crisis, noting that the economic and social reform program that the Egyptian state-initiated during 2016 effectively contributed to the state's bearing of the consequences.
El-Said said that the expectations of international institutions indicated that Egypt will be one of the economies that will be able to face the negative consequences of the Corona crisis and will provide the best performance despite the crisis compared to other economies in the Middle East and among 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.
El-Said stressed that the Egyptian state has made every effort to reduce the negative effects of the Corona pandemic on the Egyptian citizen, whether on the health or economic side, represented by In support of some sectors, including tourism.
She added during the meeting that the Egyptian state also provided support for irregular employment in the form of a monthly grant, which was decided to extend its disbursement for an additional three months, noting that many sectors have maintained good performance rates during the Corona pandemic, such as the agriculture and communications sector.
The Minister of Planning and Economic Development also indicated that the Egyptian state provides the necessary support for working women during the Corona crisis as they have been badly affected, the state provided them with paid leave to help in countering the various challenges that resulted from the crisis.
"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.
El-Said said that the Corona crisis showed many opportunities in addition to challenges, as the epidemic prompted the Egyptian state to pay more attention to achieving the transition to a green economy, stressing that the state also seeks to strengthen value-added chains and localize industry.
She highlighted that the Egyptian state is working to achieve structural reforms in various sectors.
On cooperation with the French side, El-Said said that Egypt is seeking with interest to achieve fruitful cooperation in the field of investment with the French side in various sectors, noting that Egypt opens the doors for various French companies to start pumping investments and rely on the enormous resources that the country enjoys, on top of which is skilled labor.
El-Said explained that preserving natural resources is an important matter and the shift towards a green economy is a priority for the Egyptian state, noting the concern that there will be no emissions during the ongoing projects.
France’s Ambassador to Cairo Stephane Romatet emphasized that this is the right time to invest in Egypt and discuss all the opportunities available to it, noting that Egypt is currently witnessing rapid changes and high growth despite the current challenges.
The French ambassador praised the relations between Egypt and France, which are at their highest positive levels, explaining that more than 160 French companies are operating in Egypt.