Egypt Vows to Boost Private Sector Growth in New Economic Plan

Egypt’s government said it was going to focus on boosting private sector growth, increasing exports and accelerating the digitization of the economy, as it outlined a three-year structural reform plan key to helping overcome the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative announced Tuesday builds on a broader economic program launched in 2016 that helped curb a crippling dollar crunch and revive investor confidence as Egypt struggled to rebound after the 2011 uprising against President Hosni Mubarak. The coronavirus pandemic has threatened to undercut some of those gains.

Egypt’s new plans include developing the green economy and providing greater support for small and medium-sized enterprises, according to a document from the Planning Ministry.

The North African nation is targeting economic growth of 6-7% for the next three years, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly told reporters at the program’s launch.

Key to implementing the program was developing the industrial, telecommunications and information technology and agriculture sectors, strengthening water security and ensuring all of the country’s provinces receive necessary development support.

Authorities have already begun providing aid to small businesses and working to ensure greater financial inclusion by making it easier for everyone to open bank accounts. The central bank is also encouraging the non-banking financial services sector, a move in line with the program’s push for greater digitization of the economy.

Under President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, the government has also pushed ahead with a major overhaul of the most populous Arab nation’s infrastructure, building new bridges, tunnels and roads and creating cities, including an administrative capital east of Cairo.

Authorities have said such construction is key to ensuring medium and long-term development and encouraging greater use of Egyptian land beyond the banks of the Nile River and Delta region that are home to the vast majority of the country’s more than 100 million people.

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