In light of Egypt’s current pressing economic challenges, ERF hosted this seminar to help air some of those challenges and possible solutions. The seminar is part of the fourth round of the “National Initiative for Economic Development,” announced by Hesham Kandil, prime minister of Egypt.
Ashraf El Araby, minister of planning and international cooperation, said that the government seeks to raise foreign currency reserves to $ 19 billion on June 30, 2013 compared to the current $ 15 billion.
“After the revolution the Central Bank’s priority was to provide liquidity to local banks, but the increase in the budget deficit led to more pressure on liquidity of both foreign currency and local currency,” explained Rania Al Mashat, deputy governor of the Central Bank. She added that security instability played a role in the decline of tourism, which led to a shortage of foreign currency.
While the focus of the discussion was mainly on the economy, economist Galal Amin, argued that the crisis is political rather than economic. He added that the absence of law, and what he referred to as chaos, in addition to the existing policies, had led to the deterioration of domestic and foreign investment, and other challenges. Amin also stressed that the government needs to provide reassurance for tourists and investors and to create a climate of security and political stability.
The seminar attracted a large and diverse crowd: government officials, economists and experts who were representative of various ideologies and economic sectors, media, public figures and civil society representatives .
The national initiative is built on several stages, the first of which includes wide community participation through all available means such as forums, conferences, and workshops. The parties participating in the initiative will then submit recommendations to the government.