Q&A: Egypt Launches the First Day of its Economic Conference

Photo: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) is thanked by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after speaking at the Egypt Economic Development Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh March 13, 2015 (Reuters/Brian Snyder)

Egypt launched its three day economic conference in Sharm al-Sheikh on Friday, with thirty heads of state in attendance. In the first day, over $13 billion in aid was pledged to Egypt, the bulk of which has come from the Gulf countries of UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. Find out more about the first day of the conference in this Q&A.

Who is taking part?

112 countries are represented at the conference, with 2,500 participants, 775 companies, and thirty heads of state participating.  

State Representatives:

  • US Secretary of State John Kerry (State Department background briefing and official remarks by Kerry.)
  • British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (Official statement on UK participation here)
  • Qatari Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry
  • Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed
  • Omani Prime Minister Yahia bin Mahfouz al-Manthiry
  • Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdel-Aziz
  • Saudi Minister of Finance Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Assaf
  • UAE Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashed al-Maktoum
  • UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah al-Nahyyan
  • UAE Minister of State Dr Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber
  • Bahraini King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa
  • Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir
  • Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn
  • EU High Representative Federica Mogherini (Official statement on EU participation.)
  • French Minister of Finance Michel Sapin
  • Russian Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev
  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
  • Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita
  • Somalian President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
  • Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete
  • Tanzanian Vice President Mohamed Gharib Bilal
  • Lebanese  Prime Minister Tammam Salam
  • Libyan House of Representatives Speaker Aqila Saleh
  • Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng
  • Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
  • Malawi Minister of Trade and Industry Joseph Mwanamveka
  • Singaporean Minister of State Affairs
  • Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades
  • Indian Ambassador to Egypt Egypt Navdeep Suri (More on the India delegation.)

Financial Institutions:

  • IMF Chief Christine Lagarde (Read her speech at the conference here.)
  • International Finance Corporation head Jin Yong Cai (Statement to Reuters.)
  • World Bank Managing Director and COO Sri Mulyani Indrawati (Official statement.)
  • ADIB Capital Managing Director and CEO Zeinab Hashem (Statement to DNE)
  • ADIB-Egypt Managing Director and CEO Nevine Loutfy (Statement to DNE)
  • African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka

Speakers
GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt, Siemens President and CEO Joe Kaeser, Nobel Laureate Ahmed Zewail, BP Group CEO Bob Dudley, International Finance Corporation CEO Jin Yong Cai will be speaking at the event, among others.

Companies

Among the over 700 companies taking part in the conference are:

  • General Electric
  • Unilever
  • BP
  • ENI
  • HSBC
  • Etisalat
  • Microsoft
  • Abraaj
  • ENI Petroleum Inc
  • Huawei Technologies
  • EFG Hermes
  • Lazard
  • GM Africa
  • Orascom
  • PepsiCo
  • Citigroup
  • A list of conference partners can be found here, which includes Siemens, Samsung, DHL, Coca Cola, the World Bank, and Booz Allen Hamilton. Media partners include CNN, CNBC, Reuters, Sky News, and al-Arabiya.

Who wasn’t invited?

Turkey, Iran and Israel were not in attendance as the three countries were not invited. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that they were not invited because the “criteria [of participation in the EEDC] do not apply to them in terms of the value of their investments in Egypt.”

What has been pledged so far?

Investment Minister Ashraf Salman said Egypt expects to sign agreements worth up to $20 billion at the summit.  The ministry of transportation alone aims to attract investments worth $4 billion through nine projects.

So far, the following pledges ($12 billion from just Kuwait, UAE, and Saudi Arabia, and another $1.2 billion from others) have been announced:

  • $500 million in aid from Oman. Half will be in the form of financial aid, and half in the form of investments.
  • $4 billion in economic aid from the UAE. $2 billion be a Central Bank of Egypt deposit, and the other $2 billion will be allocated a number of projects that haven’t been announced.
  • $4 billion in aid from Saudi Arabia. $1 billion will be a Central Bank of Egypt deposit, and the rest will be in the form of financial aid and investments.
  • $4 billion investments from Kuwait.
  • $200 million from General Electric as an investment in a manufacturing and training facility built near the Suez Canal. GE has also delivered thirty-four gas turbines to Egypt as part of a $1.9 billion power project.
  • $300 – $450 million from the African Development Bank Sector Operations in the form of a lending program.
  • $26 million (2 billion EGP) in capital as an investment from Bahrain’s Al Baraka Banking Group.
  • $41 million (40 million euros) from France as a sovereign loan to finance a power plant in Kom Ombo in Upper Egypt.
  • A week prior to the conference, BP unveiled $12 billion in investments in Egypt’s gas sector.

What other deals are being discussed at the conference?

Smart Village is negotiating with over fifteen companies for renting and buying office space.

What projects are being showcased at the conference?

A complete list of the fifty projects being showcased can be found here. Participants were also presented with Egypt’s five year macroeconomic strategy, and with information on Egypt’s investment laws and sectors with the highest potential.

Specific projects being showcased include:

  • Twenty non-housing projects in agriculture, industry, ICT, retail, tourism, transportation and, oil, gas & mining,
  • Ten housing projects
  • Eight PPP projects in ICT, transport, and housing.
  • Seven private projects in housing, ICT, tourism, and oil gas & mining.
  • Five flagship projects in agriculture, transport, retail, and ICT

What has the Egyptian government announced prior to the conference?

  • Investment Minister Ashraf Salman said the positive effects of Egypt’s economic conference will start showing during the last quarter of the current fiscal year.
  • Finance Minister Hany Qadry Dimian said he will reveal the government’s monetary and economic policy during the conference.
  • Trade and Industry Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said Egypt is eyeing 9 percent industrial growth.
  • The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology will present three projects at the conference.
  • A day before the conference, Sisi ratified a series of investment laws, aiming to encourage investment in Egypt.

What has the Egyptian government announced during the conference?

  • In his opening remarks, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Egypt aims to increase its growth rate to more than 6 percent in the next five years, and to lower unemployment to 10 percent.  
  • Egypt unveiled plans for a new administrative capital. The planned capital, which will take up 490 square kilometers, will be located east of Cairo and west of the Suez Canal, and can house up to 5 million residents. According to the government, it will also create 1.1 million new jobs and will be Egypt’s information technology hub.

The livestream of the conference is available here.