With Egypt’s presidential election approaching fast, representatives from the Egyptian government and financial community travelled to London this week to seek support from international investors for the country’s much needed reform programme.
Speaking at an Egypt day event at the London Stock Exchange on Friday, Hany Kadry, Egypt’s foreign minister, said he hoped to see “massive participation” in the presidential election on May 26 and 27 and parliamentary polls that will follow in the autumn.
Markets have been volatile after the removal of President Mohamed Morsi. Tarek Shahin, Africa investment specialist with Investec Asset Management, explains to the FT’s Ellen Kelleher why he’s still hopeful on Egypt and the significance of an IMF loan for investors.
An Egyptian proverb says, “when the merchant goes bust, he starts searching through his old books,” in the hope, of course, of finding a debt or two that he can call in. To many Egyptians, their government is acting like the proverbial merchant as it aggressively pursues, over a tax claim suddenly conjured out of history, two of the country’s biggest businessmen, Nassef Sawiris (pictured), chairman of Orascom Construction Industries, and his father, Onsi Sawiris, former chairman.
If successful, the government could net a few much-needed billions. But to many critics, the action against OCI could seriously damage the prospects of restoring investor confidence in the country.
Even by the standards of the region, 2012 was a turbulent year for the Middle East and North Africa, with wars, uprisings and messy post-revolutionary transitions to contend with. Despite this, it was the best year since 2008 for mergers and acquisitions, with deal value growing by 33 per cent over the year according to S&P Capital IQ.
Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi arrived in office pledging to deal with the country’s chronic power problems but – like his long-ruling predecessor Hosni Mubarak – he has instead been confounded by a continuing crisis, writes Dina Salah Eldin.
The nation’s creaking electricity network has groaned ever louder as fuel supply shortages have triggered repeated outages, while political turmoil has kept foreign investors at bay and left Egyptian officials chary about signing off deals and opening themselves to possible corruption allegations.
January 2013 will mark the two year anniversary of the Egyptian uprisings which overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Amid the optimism which followed the transition to democracy, few serious analysts expected the path ahead for the country to be smooth, and indeed it has not been. An FT special report on Egypt highlights the challenges faced by the Arab world’s largest democracy.
Gallons of ink have been spilled on the outlook for Samsung Electronics’ position in the US, after last month’s California court defeat to Apple.
But the technology giant is paying growing attention to the emerging consumer markets of the Middle East and Africa – as shown by its announcement this week of a new factory in Egypt, its first in the region.