Egypt’s Economic Conference 2015
Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) kicked off in Sharm El-Sheikh over the weekend of 13-15th March, 2015.
The conference is a key milestone of the government’s medium term economic development plan, designed to bring prosperity and improved social services to the people of Egypt. One of the major announcements concerned pledges worth $12.5bn in aid and investment from Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Egypt’s Ministry of Finance, as part of their far reaching and much needed reforms, have altered the tax regime to a unified rate of 22.5%, meaning that most tax payers will benefit from the change. However, the country’s debt continues to spiral, as do prices for many core products that hit low-wage earning Egyptians directly (eg. fuel, gas – especially butane cylinders, electricity, cigarettes).
However, not all local commentators were overly-impressed by pre-conference PR emerging in the run up to this high-profile event. Many thought it was pure ‘window dressing’ – the local governor’s gift of thousands of suits and ties for taxi and bus drivers so as to give a good first impression to visitors has to be the most obvious part of their charm offensive.
Recently announced economic indicators state that Egypt is stable, going through a recovery and, most importantly, open for business. But by taking a closer look at these figures and operating conditions for the private sector (HSBC’s Purchasing Manager Index), one senses a different story.