News / Middle East

Egypt Seeks to Lure Gulf Investors Amid Turmoil

FILE - A man looks at a newly constructed residential building in El Maraj city at New Maadi, south of Cairo.
FILE - A man looks at a newly constructed residential building in El Maraj city at New Maadi, south of Cairo.
Reuters
Egypt is planning a charm offensive to persuade Gulf Arab entrepreneurs to invest in its economy, battered by political upheaval, protests and violence.
 
Investment Minister Osama Saleh told Reuters Cairo would host a conference in early December, and had already contacted thousands of businessmen, to try to sell the region's most populous nation to wealthy Arabs.
 
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates promised Egypt more than $12 billion in loans, grants and petroleum product shipments after Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was deposed by the army on July 3.
 
Now Egypt is hoping private investors from the Gulf will pour in money as well, Saleh said, despite ongoing unrest.
 
“All of the Gulf in general is standing by Egypt ... We are already discussing the projects they will bring,” Saleh told Reuters in an interview.
 
He said his ministry had set up country-specific desk officers to deal with interested investors. Delegations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, and possibly Oman would attend the conference he added.
 
Ministry officials face a tough sell. Gulf Arab tourists who once spent big money at hotels are now rarely seen in Cairo.
 
Obstacles
 
A man looks at bodies laid out in a make shift morgue after Egyptian security forces stormed two huge protest camps at the Rabaa al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda squares where supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi were camped, in Cairo, on August 14, 2013.A man looks at bodies laid out in a make shift morgue after Egyptian security forces stormed two huge protest camps at the Rabaa al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda squares where supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi were camped, in Cairo, on August 14, 2013.
x
A man looks at bodies laid out in a make shift morgue after Egyptian security forces stormed two huge protest camps at the Rabaa al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda squares where supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi were camped, in Cairo, on August 14, 2013.
A man looks at bodies laid out in a make shift morgue after Egyptian security forces stormed two huge protest camps at the Rabaa al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda squares where supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi were camped, in Cairo, on August 14, 2013.
The government has launched a fierce crackdown on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, killing hundreds of people during protests. Morsi and other top Brotherhood leaders have been arrested.
 
Cairo has run through more than $20 billion in reserves and delayed payments to oil companies since an uprising toppled Morsi's predecessor, veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak, in 2011, scaring off tourists and investors.
 
Other potential obstacles to investment include cumbersome and shifting regulations, fears the Egyptian pound may be devalued and protracted lawsuits against local and foreign companies.
 
The economy is in a “very challenging period ... How do we start again to achieve high growth rates and at the same time work hard to reduce the budget deficit?,” Saleh said on Wednesday.
 
The Mubarak-era bureaucrat who served in the same post under Morsi, also acknowledged instability posed a challenge.
 
“There is a problem that I can't resolve and that takes time. It is the problem of security. It comes above all the problems,” he added.
 
Egyptian Army soldiers in armored personnel carriers and a helicopter gunship patrol through a village in the northern Sinai Sept. 7, 2013.Egyptian Army soldiers in armored personnel carriers and a helicopter gunship patrol through a village in the northern Sinai Sept. 7, 2013.
x
Egyptian Army soldiers in armored personnel carriers and a helicopter gunship patrol through a village in the northern Sinai Sept. 7, 2013.
Egyptian Army soldiers in armored personnel carriers and a helicopter gunship patrol through a village in the northern Sinai Sept. 7, 2013.
Militant attacks on security forces in the Sinai Peninsula that borders Israel have also risen sharply since Morsi's ouster.
 
Fears are growing that an Islamist insurgency will take hold beyond the Sinai. In September, a Sinai-based group claimed responsibility for a failed suicide bombing attack on the interior minister.
 
Egypt's interim government has said it is working to get the economy back on track.
 
The cabinet approved a 22.3 billion Egyptian pound stimulus package in August, mainly for infrastructure projects, and plans another package for early next year.
 
But it is avoiding politically sensitive measures needed to get control of the budget deficit, which has jumped since the beginning of the year to nearly half of all government spending.
 
Many of Egypt's 85 million citizens are highly dependent on costly food and energy subsidies, which account for a quarter of all state spending.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More