Egypt ranked first in the Middle East and Africa as the recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2019 with $13.7bn compared to the fourth place in 2018 that hit $11.4bn, the Egyptian cabinet said in a statement on Monday.

“Egypt is on the right track in terms of luring FDI, thanks to the adoption of the economic reform program,” the statement quoted a report issued recently by FDI Intelligence, an international service firm that provides investment promotion and economic development solutions.

Despite a decline of 14.9 percent in the FDI flows to Africa and the Middle East in 2019, it was a very strong year for Egypt, according to the report.

In terms of greenfield investment, the number of projects has increased in 2019 by 60 percent with 136 new projects, the highest ever on record, established in the country compared to 85 projects in the previous year, it added.

The report added that Egypt ranked in 15th place worldwide in the FDI flows in 2019 compared to the 23rd place a year before.

The cabinet said that”the market is recovering in Egypt,” due to the governments’ efforts in paving the climate for attracting investments especially after setting the necessary legal and organizational frames that enhanced the confidence of investors for pumping more funds into the Egyptian economy.

Also, the World Investment Report 2019 added that foreign investment in Egypt was skewed towards the oil and gas industry, as significant discoveries of offshore gas reserves attracted investment, and the country became a net exporter of gas in January 2019.

Due to political turmoil and relevant security challenges over the past few years, Egypt has been suffering an economic slowdown.

To contain the shortage of cash reserve, the government decided to fully float the exchange rate of the pound and adopted an economic reform program in 2016 that cut fuel and energy subsidy and hiked taxes.

The International Monetary Fund supported Egypt’s economic reform plan with a $12bn loan.

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