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Oxford Business Group: Tarek Kabil, Minister of Trade and Industry: Interview

Egypt has been able to reduce its deficit by $7bn in 2016 and $12.5bn in 2017, with a drop in imports by $15bn and an increase in exports by $4bn.
09.03.18 | Interesting article at Oxford Business Group

What segments do you expect to be the main drivers of growth for the manufacturing sector?

TAREK KABIL: The authorities are putting an emphasis on four main manufacturing segments, namely chemicals, textiles, building materials and engineering, putting in place a strategy to deepen local content. There are strong programmes in place, aimed at boosting the feeding activities of the chemical, textiles and engineering segments. The strategy for the building material segment is slightly different, emphasising energy efficiency measures to increase competitiveness.

How has the flotation of the currency affected the country’s manufacturing industries?

KABIL: Prior to the currency flotation, Egyptian authorities had engaged in a series of economic reforms throughout 2015 and 2016 with the objective of rationalising the imports of low-quality products that were causing unfair competition for local industry and costing a significant proportion of the foreign currency. As a result, the country has been able to reduce its deficit by $7bn in 2016 and $12.5bn in 2017, combined with a drop in imports by $15bn and an increase in exports by $4bn. The currency flotation is of course expected to encourage import rationalisation as well as give a strong edge to exports in 2017. One of the reasons why exports have not been growing as much as expected is that production has primarily been directed toward filling the gaps within the local market. The currency flotation has helped exports to be increasingly competitive in international markets, and we should see the trade balance continue to improve over the coming years.