German ambassador to Cairo Frank Hartmann stated that it is useful for the government of Egypt to carry out privatisation operations on a large scale in various economic sectors, the most important of which is industrial sector, and that many countries and investors want to continue their business and expand their investments, by increasing their participation or ownership.
Hartmann explained that the percentage of participation of foreign companies in projects does not exceed 20 or 30 %, which is less than the required one.
He called for opening a greater scope for foreign investors to participate in business and invest in these vital economic fields.
During a press conference held on Tuesday, the ambassador said that his country supports the economic stability of Egypt through several axes, including tourism and energy.
Hartmann added that there are up to 1.3 million German tourists arriving in Egypt annually, noted that the number of German tourists in Egypt is very large, noting that trade exchange between the two countries reached €5.2bn.
He further pointed out that there are German contributions in fields of renewable energy in Egypt, as it was agreed that Germany would provide Egypt with up to €285m for energy support during Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference (COP27) through a debt swap programme.
Hartmann elaborated that the total amount that Germany provided to Egypt this year amounted to €500m.
He disclosed: “Our main target here is to preserve and boost current businesses and investments in Egypt and fulfill commitment towards the local economy as well as ensure transferring profits of companies aboard before starting new businesses or investments. The problem of companies’ revenue transfers abroad must be resolved so that they can continue in this business. We are assured that this problem will be solved because foreign companies only pay 20% of their bills in hard currency and the rest in local ones, accordingly, the companies can’t incur the current burden without transferring their revenues abroad. Nevertheless, there are important measures that have been taken in Egypt to improve the investment climate.”
Regarding the possibility of conducting economic deals between the two countries in local currencies similar to what happened between Egypt and Russia, the ambassador commented that this mechanism could be done through trade exchange or specific deals between countries but it can not be applied to companies.
Hartmann revealed a meeting and a conference between Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development to discuss further economic cooperation in the field of industry in September.
The ambassador announced that his country strongly welcomes the national dialogue in Egypt, went on saying, “We expected this dialogue to produce steps on the ground, especially with regard to the rule of law, economic policies including privatisation, equality between private and public sectors, pretrial detention and more press freedoms as well as allowing more freedoms for political parties and releasing political prisoners.”
Hartmann highlighted that Egypt is a special and distinguished partner for Germany, as it is considered the key to stability in the region, touched on the situation in Sudan, saying that Egypt is one of the countries most affected by the Sudanese crisis due to the number of Sudanese refugees flowing into it, and they are so far from 150,000 to 200,000 refugees, and according to United Nations estimates, this number may reach 700,000 refugees by the end of this year.
Hartmann said, “We support Egypt in this regard, as we provided the United Nations Food Programme and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees with aid worth $6.7m.”
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