UK plans ‘strong participation’ in March economic summit: Amb John Classon
mbassador John Classon Wednesday, during a visit to Youm7 headquarters - YOUM7/Sami Waheeb

CAIRO: The British government is planning a “very strong participation” in the upcoming Egypt Economic Development Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, scheduled for March 13-15.

“Britain is very proud to be the largest foreign investor in this country, we think this gives us a responsibility and an opportunity for British companies,” said Ambassador John Classon Wednesday, during a visit to Youm7 headquarters.

“We want to invest in a growing Egyptian economy and a successful Egypt that’s more stable and more prosperous and democratic,” he added.

The long-awaited conference was first proposed by the Saudi government following the election of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in June 2014, and tentatively scheduled for November 2014. It was later moved back to February 2014, then pushed again to March, in order to avoid any potential conflicts with Chinese investors, who celebrate the New Year in mid-February.

Since mid-January, the Central Bank has allowed the Egyptian pound to depreciate to 7.53 per dollar, down from around 7.15 per dollar in early January, and its Monetary Policy Committee cut key interest rates by 50 basis points last month.

Some bankers expect the FX auctions and flexible exchange rates may help the bank combat the black market and narrow the gap between official and unofficial exchange rates ahead of March summit.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates pledged $10 billion in deposits Wednesday, in light of the conference.

Egypt hopes the long-awaited economic conference will lure fresh investments worth billions of dollars to boost its limping economy hit by political turmoil since the January 25 Revolution.

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