(Source: File photo from www.egypttoday.com)

Minister of Trade and Industry of the Arab Republic of Egypt, HE Eng. Tarek Kabil, was in Singapore for a recent visit this month. He speaks of his satisfaction with the interactions he had with senior government officials of Singapore as well as directors of several Singaporean firms in an interview with Ms Nomita Dhar, Editor-in-Chief of IN Diplomacy, .He also shared the spectrum of opportunities available in his country for trade and investment, by virtue of the various new reforms set up in Egypt to this end.

PLEASE share with us what your vsist has been like so far.
The visit has been successful and all its goals were fulfilled. Meetings and discussions were held with several senior officials of the Singapore government, as also with some directors of companies based here.

During our meetings, we discussed the ways of enhancing economic cooperation between both countries in general, but more significantly in trade and investment. We also focused on how to benefit  from Singapore’s long experience in attracting FDI, as well as ports development, industrial zone management and development of SMEs.

During the visit, I  met with Singapore Engineering and Development Company (SECC Group) and its technical arm, Surbana Jurong Company, which will be responsible for developing Kom Oshim Industrial City project.

What do you feel  are the opportunities in Egypt  that companies in Singapore can tap?
Our main objective as a Government is to create a conducive environment for the growing businesses. To this end a set of legislative reforms targeting the improvement of governance and the investment climate have taken place. The highpoints of these changes are:

  • The Civil Service Reform Law, which constitutes a major step towards the institutional restructure of the public sector
  • The new investment law with the main objective of improving the business climate through a series of guarantees and incentives for national and foreign investors.
  • The Import Registry Law, which simplifies import procedures for foreign companies operating in Egypt;
  • The Industrial Licensing Law with the main goal of facilitating the procedures of industrial facilities licensing.
  • The Industrial Land Allocation Amendment Law, which organizes and limits the mandate for granting industrial land licenses into one single entity.

The government has also adopted the “Industry and Trade development strategy 2016-2020″, which  revolves around 5 major pillars:  Industrial Development; Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises & Entrepreneurship Development; Exports Development; Upgrade of Technical and Vocational Education and Training; Governance and Institutional Development.

The results of our strategy forn 2016-2017 are:

  • 5 Million Square Meters of Industrial Land for new industrial projects.
  • Moving on the right track towards achieving our goal of establishing 22 specialized industrial clusters by 2020; we successfully completed Leather and Plastic Cities, moreover we launched acFurniture City as well as two Textile cities.
  • Introducing over 500 ready-made licensed industrial complexes & building 4400 more this year for small industry.
  • We established 2654 new factories  with an average of 3.7 factories per day, reaching total investments of 62.4 billion LE and 80 thousand job opportunities.

Parallel to this , Egypt executed a set of mega projects, Chief amongst these are:

  • The doubling of the Suez Canal and the establishing of a  Special Economic Zone along the corridor.
  • Adding 5,000 kms to the roads
  • Adding 50% of the power generated historically in Egypt.
  • Building three new cities, one of which is the new Administrative Capital.
  • Building 3 new ports and upgrading another 3.
  • The launch of Egypt’s planned agricultural mega-project; a new and ambitious plan for the reclamation of 1.5 million feddans of desert land.
  • Offering 28.5 million square meters of industrial land for investment, 3 times more than what we offered since 2007 to 2015.
  • the Golden Triangle project in southern Egypt; which aims at establishing an economic, mining and touristic area on the coast of the Red Sea;

In view of all these reforms and projects, which are either in place or in the pipleine, are expceted to create a wide range of opportunities for Singaporean businessmen to capitalise on in Egypt.