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Saudi Businessmen to Asharq Al-Awsat: Egypt Turned Into a Hub for Regional Investment

Saudi Businessmen to Asharq Al-Awsat: Egypt Turned Into a Hub for Regional Investment

Thursday, 23 June, 2022 - 09:45
Egyptian-Saudi Business Council meeting in Cairo (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Several Saudi businessmen said that the measures Egypt has taken to improve the investment climate and remove obstacles for investors increase the attractiveness of foreign investments.


They explained that Egypt's economic revenues have been among the best in the region, making it a hub for investment.


Chairman of the Board of Directors of al-Zamil Steel Industries Abdulrahman al-Zamil said that the situation is different in Egypt in all aspects, describing it as a welcoming investment base in the region.


Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the sidelines of the Egyptian-Saudi Business Council in Cairo, Zamil addressed the recent government measures to solve the investors' problems.


On Tuesday, Egypt and Saudi Arabia signed investment partnership agreements and memoranda of understanding worth $7.7 billion distributed over ten economic sectors, on the sidelines of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's two-day visit to Cairo.


Zamil explained that the company has been working in Egypt for 30 years with various operations, including iron industries and steel buildings.


"We have a factory in Cairo and another in Alexandria...The Cairo factory focuses on local supply, and Alexandria exports to Africa and other countries. I assure you that during those 30 years, we have not encountered any difficulties."


Forbes magazine ranked Zamil Group Holding 19th among the 100 most powerful Arab family businesses in 2021.


The chairman explained that the company has the same investments in Egypt, India, Vietnam, and the UAE. However, he said Egypt is one of the best areas for investments.


"We constantly look at investment opportunities in Egypt. Our priorities for foreign investment or increasing investment will be in Egypt,” he said.


Zamil suggested that the Egyptian government form a team or establish a specialized department to prepare integrated economic studies for specific projects in Egypt and invite local, Saudi, and other financiers to invest in these projects.


He explained that ready projects or ready-made opportunities with feasibility and revenue studies attract investors, noting that the Kingdom established a "very successful" Investment Development Authority 20 years ago for the same purpose.


Partner of NESCO Egypt for Tourism Maha al-Ateeqi said Egypt is currently going through a qualitative shift thanks to the measures taken by the authorities led by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.


"We are delighted with this and look forward to continuing and increasing investments in Egypt,” she said.


Ateeqi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the government's measures to improve the investment climate and solve investors' problems are distinguished in the current investment system.


She pointed out that "the Saudis have big investments in Egypt, mostly in the tourism sector, hotels, real estate development, commercial malls, and industry. It indicates the confidence of Saudi investors in the Egyptian economy’s resilience."


Member of the Saudi-Egyptian Business Council Enad al-Ajrafi believes Egypt is ready to invest in all economic sectors that interest businessmen after increasing opportunities through government facilities and unprecedented support.


Ajrafi told Asharq Al-Awsat that Egypt has a promising market, and investment aspects with Saudi Arabia are going forward and constantly developing.


He called on Saudi businessmen to increase their investments in Egypt, saying there is a great ambition to remove all obstacles facing investors.


"I also see a great ambition for Saudi investors to increase their investments in Egypt,” he said.


Meanwhile, the chairman of the Egyptian-Saudi Business Council, Abdel Hamid Abu Moussa, said there is close cooperation at the governmental and private levels in the two countries, resulting in the signing of 14 agreements worth close to $8 billion.


Abu Moussa pointed out that Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab investor in Egypt.


Regarding the problems facing investors, Abu Moussa told Asharq Al-Awsat that investment anywhere has its problems and Egyptian authorities care about foreign investment in general, and Saudi ones in particular.


"There is a strong interest at the highest level to address the complaints and a strong desire to solve them," he asserted, adding that most problems have already been resolved.


The chairman pointed out that the volume of current Saudi investments in Egypt may reach $53 billion in light of government measures to facilitate and improve the investment environment.


The state wants to increase the private sector's participation in projects to exceed 60 percent, he noted, adding that all this gives hope that many projects will be realized soon.


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