News / Economy

    Egypt Billionaire Sawiris Family to Invest 'Like Never Before'

    Orascom Telecom chairman Naguib Sawiris speaks during a conference in Beirut. (File)
    Orascom Telecom chairman Naguib Sawiris speaks during a conference in Beirut. (File)
    Reuters
    Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris, whose family controls the sprawling Orascom corporate empire, said he and his brothers will be “investing in Egypt like never before” after the ousting of a president he accused of bullying opponents to his rule.
     
    Sawiris, a prominent Christian who was an outspoken critic of President Mohamed Morsi, told Reuters the Islamist leader's government had sought to co-opt executives or, as in his case because he was in opposition, hit his family businesses with exceptional taxes.
     
    The eldest of three billionaire brothers, Sawiris spent much of the past year in self-imposed exile, returning to Egypt in May after officials cleared Orascom Construction Industries (OCI), run by brother Nassef Sawiris, of tax evasion.
     
    The Orascom group of companies is one of the biggest private sector employers in Egypt - providing more than 100,000 Egyptians with jobs according to Sawiris, who now runs a new investment firm Orascom Telecom, Media and Technology,
     
    “My family and myself are going to be investing in Egypt like never before - any new projects where we can invest, any new factories that we can open, any new initiatives that will provide jobs for the young people of Egypt,” he said, although he did not give any specifics.
     
    “I am very very sure that Egypt will come back very strongly now,” he said in a telephone interview on Sunday from a yacht off the Greek island of Mykonos, where he was on vacation.
     
    The remarks by one of Egypt's top businessmen could help rebuild confidence in a nation buffeted by political turmoil for two and a half years. Bankruptcy was averted when Gulf states poured in aid after the army ousted Morsi on July 3, responding to protests by millions of Egyptians.
     
    Investors have been spooked and tourists have stayed away since an uprising brought down President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, who like Morsi was given a push by the generals, hammering two of Egypt's main sources of foreign currency.
     
    Back to work
     
    “There are two opinions, one that the people who went down on June 30 should go back to the squares, my point is we should go back to our work and build our country,” he said, referring to the date that marked the start of mass rallies against Morsi.
     
    After Morsi's ouster and with the economy on the ropes, Sawiris said he had lobbied government officials in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, which had held back aid to Egypt under Morsi, to offer swift support and help for the next few months.
     
    “It was not like I needed to convince them too much, they were already convinced,” said Sawiris, who made a fortune with Orascom Telecom, selling most of those assets to Vimpelcom in 2010 in a $6 billion deal.
     
    Shortly after the army stepped in, the UAE and Kuwait offered $3 billion and $4 billion respectively, to the government, partly to help boost its reserves. Saudi Arabia offered $5 billion.
     
    “If Egypt falls, or goes into turmoil, the whole Middle East goes down the drain. So they are defending also their countries also by helping Egypt,” he said.
     
    Sawiris, who helped found and finance the liberal Free Egyptians party that is part of a coalition that opposed Morsi, said Morsi's government had offered him the post of Cairo governor early in the president's term, but turned it down, seeing it as a bid “to buy me out”.
     
    Unlike his brothers, who have steered clear of public politics, Sawiris was a vocal critic and has stakes in a television channel and a prominent independent newspaper that have broadcast or published broadsides against Morsi's rule.
     
    “My family actually paid the price of my challenge,” he said, citing what he called an “unlawful” tax imposed on OCI as it was moving its listing from Egypt to the Netherlands.
     
    “They were bullying us. They were bullying me, they were bullying my family they were bullying ... any businessman who dared to stand in their way,” he said.
     
    Alongside OCI which has cement and fertilizer plants and an international construction business, a third brother, Samih Sawiris, runs Orascom Development Holding, operating tourists resorts and real estate projects in Egypt and Europe.
     
    Sawiris said international businesses should invest now, while many are still nervous about prospects.
     
    “I know it is going to be stable, so you always make the most of your money when you move first,” he said.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.9105
    JPY
    USD
    106.21
    GBP
    USD
    0.7618
    CAD
    USD
    1.3171
    INR
    USD
    67.348

    Rates may not be current.