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Expats criticise Egypt’s attempts to gain investment

March 14, 2023 at 12:01 pm

Egyptian flags in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. [Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]

Egypt’s Minister of Immigration and Egyptians abroad is leading a campaign to create companies in countries where there are expat workers for them to invest in.

Soha Gendi has said that expats would be able to invest in major national projects, real estate, or the agriculture and fishing sectors.

These new companies are a way of raising hard currency, according to Arabi21, since Egypt is struggling with huge debts, high inflation and the collapse of its currency.

In 2022, Egypt devalued the pound three times, then this year the Central Bank of Egypt floated the pound in line with a $3 billion IMF loan.

Since 2016, the IMF has given Egypt four loans. Many private and foreign investors have backed off since the military has taken an increasingly large role in the economy.

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There are almost 12 million Egyptians living abroad and the money they send is one of the main sources of foreign currency in Egypt.

However, over the years, remittances from abroad have declined, including because of heavy bureaucracy.

In July 2021 remittances from Egyptian workers abroad were $2.79 billion and in July 2022 they were $2.38 billion as news of the financial crisis in Egypt grew.

Over the years the government has tried to develop ideas for Egyptian expats to invest in, including in housing units for sale in government megaprojects.

But Egyptians abroad are sceptical of new projects because they do not wish to be financially exploited and because there have not been great results in the past.

Given Egypt’s financial woes, others have warned that now is not a good time to invest in the country.

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