New investments in the first half of year total EGP 9bn

By Doaa Farid

A total number of  2204 new investment projects were established in the first half of 2013, with a combined worth of EGP 9bn, the General Authority for Investments and Free Zonestold state-run newspaper Al-Ahram.

More than 800 of the newly-established investment firms are in Cairo, with a combined worth of EGP 2bn. Firms located in Giza, Sharqeya and Alexandria followed, together worth more than  EGP 3bn.

Most of the new projects were in the industrial sector, totalling 1200 firms, valued at EGP 35bn.

According to an official at the General Authority for Investments and Free Zones, who requested to remain anonymous, the overall amount of investments during the  regime of ousted former president Mohamed Morsiwere much less than previous regimes. “Every month the authority issues a report about the new investmentestablishments, so the decline in value is clear,” the source said.

The source added that the economic and political situation did notencourageinvestments in Egypt, or the establishment of  new projects, citing a lack of security and stability.

He also pointed out that the former minister of investment, YehiaHamed, “didn’t have a clear agenda or a plan, nor did he depend on experts to develop the investment sector.”

Egypt’s strong relationships withmajor Arab investors like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were harmed byHamed’s policies, the source added.

Meanwhile, Fakhry El-Feky, an economics professor atCairo University and former assistant of the executive chairman of International Monetary Fund, told the Daily News Egypt that these investments were planned before the January25threvolution, and implemented this year.

He stressed that the new transition government,which faces a tough legacy,must have a plan to achieve stability to increase the amount of foreign investments.

The Saudi-based newspaper Al-Eqtisadeyareported that Saudi Arabia has topped the list of foreign investments in Egypt; 2971 Saudi companiesinvested in seven key sectors, and their exporting capital amounts to more than $23.1bn, while the value of Saudi shares in them amounts to $5.7bn.

The chairman of the Saudi-Egyptian business council, Abdullah bin Mahfouz told Al-Eqtisadeya,in its Monday issue,that Saudi investments in Egypt are protected by the constitution as well as mutual agreements between the two countries and confirmed that Saudi Arabia will remain an active investor in Egypt.

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