SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt: Egypt expects to sign agreements worth up to $20 billion at a weekend investment summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, its investment minister said on Friday.
Egypt wants the conference to project an image of stability and deepen investor confidence after four years of political turmoil triggered by a 2011 uprising that toppled veteran ruler Hosni Mubarak.
Cairo hopes the summit will allow it to double foreign investment in this fiscal year to $8 billion, despite an Islamist insurgency in northern Sinai and militant attacks across the country.
“I’m expecting here to see $15-$20 billion in agreements signed,” Investment Minister Ashraf Salman told Reuters, adding the deals would cover power plants, real estate and agricultural projects.
Egypt also expects to sign several memoranda of understanding at the conference, including one for the construction of a new administrative capital with a price-tag of about $40 billion, Salman said.
The conference will be a key test of Egypt’s reform agenda under President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who is pushing for the removal of investment barriers to help turn around the ailing economy of the Arab world’s most populous country.
The government targets a budget deficit of 10 percent of gross domestic product by 2018/19, down from 15 percent last year. Unemployment, currently around 13 percent, is also a major challenge.
GDP is expected to grow by four percent in the fiscal year ending in June, up from 2.2 percent last year, officials say.