Minister of Planning, Monitoring, and Administrative Reform Hala El-Said told Daily News Egypt that the Egyptian economy is on the right track and that there are positive positive signs of economic recovery.
El-Said added that she is optimistic about the country’s economy in the coming period, that there are great potential and untapped opportunities, as well as that the government adopted the necessary reform measures.
“There are positive signs of economic recovery, including the improvement of the trade balance, increasing FDIs, lower inflation rate, positive growth rates for manufacturing, extraction industries, ICT, and domestic trade,” she said. In addition, tourism is showing positive signs in terms of number of tourists, tourism nights, and revenues, she added.
Regarding the continuing decline of the international economy, El-Said asserted that Egypt succeeded to raise its growth rate, not to the level requested and deserved, but on the right track nevertheless. The mega projects implemented, the support to short and medium enterprises (SMEs), the bold reforms, the social justice measures all contribute to a positive outlook of the Egyptian economy in the next few years, she added.
As for her view on what led to the 25 January Revolution and what the government is now doing to avoid the same issues from happening, El-Said said that the revolution happened for both economic and political reasons. She said that the government is avoiding the same issues from happening by focusing on the economy, adding that the growth rate reached 3.6% during the first half of fiscal year (FY) 2016/2017, that the total investment increased to EGP 241.7bn with an investment rate of 14.2%, and that the unemployment rate declined to 12.1%.
“The government aims at doubling the growth rate by 2021 and to increase the GDP per capita to $4,000 while improving the targeting process for the poor,” she added.
She said that the government issued the “Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS): Egypt Vision 2030” and that its short-term vision is included in the “Government Programme 2016-2018”, which targets to increase growth rate to 12% and GDP per capita to $10,000, to reduce the poverty rate to 15%, to eradicate extreme poverty, and to reduce the unemployment rate to 5%. To achieve these targets, “we need to increase productivity, raise exports, and attract private investment,” she said.
We aim to increase the contribution of manufacturing and agriculture in GDP, and the government is working with a quick pace to increase the contribution of these two sectors. For example, there are the projects of Damietta Furniture City, 1.5 million feddans, and the Textile City,” she said.
El-Said asserted that the government aims at enhancing the role of the private sector in economic development and strengthening its capacity. Based on the goals of the “Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS): Egypt Vision 2030”, the government aims at raising the ratio of the private sector contribution to GDP from its current 60% to 65% in 2020 and 75% in 2030, she stated, adding that such aspirations are to be reached in several ways.
First, almost 60% of public investments in 2017/2018 are to be allocated to infrastructure projects. The main purpose of these large investments is to pave the way to attract private investments, El-Said said.
Second, the new reform programme adopted by the government is to mainly target the creation of a more stable macroeconomic environment that raises Egypt’s competitiveness and that attracts both local and foreign investments, she concluded.