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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - CAIRO: The Egyptian government has met with 100 of the largest foreign companies operating in country in a bid to encourage increased investment in the local market over the next five years.
Nader Saad, Egyptian cabinet spokesman, said many of the firms attending the meeting announced plans to inject finance into the Egyptian economy.
The list of companies included UAE property developer Emaar, which made new investments of 40 billion Egyptian pounds ($2.55 billion), and South Korean technology conglomerate Samsung, which said it planned to increase its investments by $84 million within five years.
American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, one of the major brands behind the development and distribution of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines, also said it planned to boost its investments by $70 million during 2020-2021.
Saad added that the meeting also dealt with the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones’ strategy to promote foreign investments. The authority said it hoped to address any issues or disputes faced by foreign investors during ministerial committee meetings to be held twice a month.
Net foreign direct investment (FDI) was down 31 percent year-on-year to $1.6 billion, Reuters reported in January. In a bid to encourage more FDI, the cabinet issued a number of decisions, including allowing some governorates and regions most in need of development to extend the period set for establishing companies, so that they could benefit from a number of special incentives.
The cabinet also allowed free-zone operators to sell 50 percent of their products in the local market, granting new projects applying for work in investment zones a license to engage in temporary activity for a period of six months.
In other cabinet announcements, Saad said the meeting reviewed the strategy for strengthening Egyptian banks’ presence in Africa.
It also considered a request by the Ministry of Transport to allow the Egyptian Group for Multipurpose Terminals to operate under the private free-zones system instead of working as an internal investment system.
Saad added that it was expected that this would contribute to increasing the maritime capabilities of Alexandria port to be able to receive modern ships with large submersibles and increase the volume of goods and international trade exchanged.
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