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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid