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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Arkansas, North Carolina have approved similar laws that gay-marriage opponents say help maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

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