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Rede von Botschafter Frank Hartmann anlässlich des AHK-Forums „Egypt at the Crossroads: Fiscal Policy for Economic Revival“ in Anwesenheit S.E. Finanzminister Dr. Mohamed Maait am 16.05.2024

23.05.2024 - Pressemitteilung

- Your Excellency Minister Dr. Mohamed Maait

- Dear Ms. Natascha Boussiga

- Dear Board members of the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce

- Ladies and gentlemen,

Very pleased to see all of you here this morning. The number of guests clearly shows the great interest in today’s speaker and topic.

I believe it is the first time that his excellency, Minister Maait, is speaking at the AHK. Thank you very much for taking the time to engage with the Egyptian-German business community.

You are doing so in a rather historic moment. After two very challenging years of a foreign currency shortage that put immense pressure on the government and the private sector alike, Egypt has managed to secure over 50 billion US dollars in fresh foreign funding to stabilize its fiscal and financial situation during the next 2-3 years.

Half of that is coming from the United Arab Emirates for the development of Ras El Hekma, the single biggest investment in the country’s history. The other half is coming from your trusted partners at the IMF, the European Union and the World Bank.

In addition to being one of Egypt’s biggest economic and development partners, Germany has consistently supported Egypt in all of these organizations. We do so not only out of the long-standing friendship and cooperation between our two people. But on the basis of an ambitious reform agenda that the government has committed itself to.

I am sure everyone in the room agrees that structural reforms are essential to finally put the economy on a healthy footing and break the recurring cycles of economic crises.

In this context, we welcomed the first successful review of the current IMF program in March and related measures, especially the long overdue flexibilization of the currency. The government must now use this momentum to implement the remaining reform agenda in order to unleash the private sector and leverage Egypt’s full economic potential.

I believe the new strategic and comprehensive partnership agreement that was just signed with the European Union comes at the right time, and not merely thanks to the 7,4 billion Euros in projected financial aid. It is not only a historic chance to deepen our relations across many policy fields, but also a pledge to support Egypt on its own commitments to further promote democracy and fundamental freedoms and to secure sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

The EU investment conference scheduled for June 29/30 in Cairo is also an important milestone to generate European investment in Egypt. We hope to attract new German companies and investors, and I hope all companies present this morning will contribute as well.

To this end, we encourage the government to further improve the business environment and create a genuine level-playing field that allows companies to flourish. More private sector, less public sector is the only solution.

Your Excellency, allow me to point out that we also hope the recent inflow of fresh cash will enable the government to clear all outstanding payments with foreign companies very soon. Paying back open arrears across various sectors will benefit not only the affected companies but improve investor sentiment and contribute to Egypt’s economic revival.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Fiscal discipline and greater transparency on government spending are other crucial elements needed to regain the confidence of domestic and foreign investors.

Progress is already visible on both fronts: thanks to the efforts of His Excellency Minister Maait, all 59 economic entities of the government will now be part of the general budget. Moreover, a spending limit of 1 trillion EGP has been announced by the Prime Minister for the coming fiscal year.

These are all promising steps, and I look forward to hearing more details during your presentation, Minister, on fiscal policy for economic revival. Thanks again for coming to the AHK this morning. The floor is yours.

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