A panel of business leaders, bankers, investors and regulators said at a Forum hosted by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) that there is strong appetite to invest in Egypt.
NBAD, the safest bank in the Middle East and the Emerging Markets, hosted 200 clients and guests at the Forum which was called ‘Egypt on the Rise - West-East Corridor’, in Cairo on 27 May, 2015.
The forum came after Egypt secured close to $60 billion in investment pledges at the Economic Conference last March in Sharm El Sheikh. However, with more than $200 billion needed by Egypt to fulfil its ambitions, the importance of capital from the investment community – local, regional and international – cannot be underestimated.
The speakers agreed that reforms being implemented by the Egyptian government are encouraging investment but cautioned that the road to prosperity is a long one and maintaining momentum is essential if Egypt is to reach its full potential.
The speakers also highlighted the significance of recent steps taken to improve the ease of doing business in Egypt, saying that such changes are what will drive the long-term growth of the real economy.
Speaking on the panel were Basil El Baz, CEO of Carbon Holdings; Hisham El Khazindar, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Qalaa Holdings; Omar Mehanna, Head of Merchant Banking at NBAD; and Ahmed Badreldin, Senior Partner at Abraaj Capital. Ex-CNBC anchor Yousef Gamal El-Din moderated the panel, which was followed by an on-stage interview with Sherif Samy, Chairman of Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority.
Alex Thursby, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NBAD, said “NBAD has been in Egypt for 40 years, we were the second foreign bank to be granted a banking licence and the first from the Middle East. We see huge potential for Egypt and are actively pursuing opportunities to participate in transactions that will attract further foreign direct investment and contribute to the long-term growth of the Egyptian economy.”
Ahmed Ismail, NBAD’s Chief Executive Officer in Egypt, said “The Egypt on the Rise forum demonstrated the appetite of international investors to deploy capital into the country. With the gradual resolution of the short-term challenges facing the economy, we fully expect to see this translate into an increase in foreign direct investment. Meanwhile, recent steps taken by the government to improve the ease of doing business have had a huge effect on the economy and I am confident that over the next 12 months we will see even more reforms, which will give Egyptian businesses the flexibility they need for growth. Egypt is a huge market with huge potential for growth and now is a good time to invest. It’s a very attractive to regional and foreign investment.”
“Egypt on the Rise - West East Corridor” was part of NBAD’s Global Financial Markets Forum (GFMF) Series events, which take place around the world and address critical issues that shape global economies across the West-East Corridor. Other Series events in recent months have included “The Future of Sukuk” in London and “The Future of Energy” in Kuala Lumpur.
In just six years, GFMF has evolved to become the premier annual financial markets conference in the MENA region, attracting over 1,300 delegates from around the world to Abu Dhabi. In recent years, GFMF has hosted highly-distinguished speakers from all over the world, including Dr Mohamed El-Erian, Dr Ben Bernanke, Dr Larry Summers, General Colin L. Powell, Nicholas Sarkozy, David Millibad, Jean-Claude Trichet, Niall Ferguson, Paul Volcker, Axel Weber, Dr. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, His Excellency Sheikh Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and His Excellency Nasser Ahmed Al Sowaidi.