Trade Minister: Cairo needs $12 billion annual investments

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The Minister of Industry and Trade, Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour, said that Cairo needs at least $12 billion of annual investments to cut off the vicious circle of the current economic slowdown.

The minister has in hand several economic files where the future of the country’s economic developments rests.

“During the past three years, economic growth in Egypt did not exceed 2 percent on average which can never cope with the population growth rate” Abdel-Nour said.

Despite the hectic efforts exerted by the government, Abdel-Nour believes that the country has suffered due to the ongoing war on terrorism which negatively affected the tourism industry, causing a 50 percent loss during the past three years and investment losses estimated at nearly $7 billion.

Abdel-Nour also noted the losses incurred by the private and public properties adding that the people who were killed at the times of turmoil are the most precious value lost in this war.

On the Russian-Egyptian economic cooperation, Abdel-Nour said that there is an increase of 34 percent of local exports to Moscow. However, the profit edge of such increase is yet to be grasped because of the decreasing exchange rate of the ruble which recently lost almost 54 percent of its value.

Meanwhile, Abdel-Nour believes that the return of Russian tourists to Egypt will make up for this loss adding that nearly 3 million Russian tourists used to visit Egypt every year until 2011.

According to Abdel-Nour, cooperation with African countries tops his ministry’s agenda. The minister believes that a crucial part of Egypt’s economic problems could easily be solved once a strong bond is established with African markets.

Abdel-Nour said a major project that will connect the whole African continent with Europe via Alexandria is in the make. Much like Europe is connected by railways, Alexandria will be the land route between the two continents (Europe and Africa).

“The northern Mediterranean city will be connected with Cape Town in South Africa which practically will connect the Mediterranean with the Cape of Good Hope. The first phase of this land route is completed which will give a big boost to Egypt’s exports to Ethiopia and other African states,” Abdel-Nour said.

Abdel-Nour also noted that the three major economic blocs in Africa; the KOMESA, SADEQ, and East Africa, are due to be merged by next May. By that time, Egypt will host a meeting for the 26 member states of these blocs to sign the African economic bloc which will unify more than 625 million people with GDP that exceeds a trillion and 200 billion dollars.

Abdel-Nour believes that the African continent is the future of the international economy and thus Egypt should be at the heart of this development.