Deutsche Bank intends to allocate $35 million in grants to Egypt within a total of $150 earmarked for Africa, said Sebastian Kahlfeld – senior fund manager at DWS Investments, the bank’s investment arm.
The announcement has been made during his meeting with Egyptian Minister of Investment Ashraf Salman in the presence of officials in the General Authority For Investment and Free Zones (GAFI). The meeting addressed the means of mutual cooperation and investment ties between Egypt and the German lender.
During the meeting held on Sunday, Salman said the government is seeking to improve business practices. Salman said this was especially in regards to dispute resolution committees and expanding special economic zones.
The minister further added that Egypt will focus on an area northwest of the Gulf of Suez. Several petrochemical companies are currently operating in the field of ship repairs, attracting investment.
Salman said: “Our vision as a government is to offer a system of special economic zones in an integrated manner with chains of projects in order to attract international companies, maximise the benefit, and increase the rate of capital turnover.”
Kahlfeld said Germany is studying new and renewable energy and roads projects as well as the Suez Canal Axis Development project.
Salman stressed the importance of cooperation with EU countries and the need to utilise their international experience, especially in the field of facilitating procedures and attracting investment. He also added that Egypt’s special geographic location and mega projects espoused by the economic and social reform programme of the Egyptian government must be taken advantage of.
The Egyptian minister also pointed to a set of actions and reforms adopted by the Egyptian government to improve the investment climate in Egypt and attract more Arab and foreign investments, most important of which are legislative reforms that relate to investment laws.
“The government seeks to integrate the informal sector into the formal sector and to provide new tools to finance projects, whether they are banking related or not, like the Suez Canal investment certificates,” Salman said. “Government implementation of several initiatives that help stimulate, develop and expand SMEs [small and medium enterprises] depends on the existence of a strong Egyptian banking system.”
Salman continued: “Egypt has opportunities to invest in economic sectors with high growth rates, such as construction, energy, roads, and railways, as well as partnership between the private and public sectors in infrastructure, industrial, and service projects.”
Salman noted that the government would rely on the private sector more than ever in the coming phase in order to implement the government’s plan for economic growth. He pointed to meetings and frequent visits with local and foreign businessmen to promote investment opportunities in Egypt, explaining procedures, and set the Egyptian government’s plan to achieve growth goals into action.