Is Egypt back on track?
1 year ago by Jack Evangelides

Is Egypt back on track?

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US giant General Electric has agreed a deal with Egypt`s Ministry of Transportation worth $575m. The agreement covers the provision of 100 new locomotives, servicing and technical support for 15 years and will result in additional training for more than 275 Egyptian National Railway Engineers. Even more encouraging is that the company is looking at a number of other investment opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa. This is very welcome news.
Infrastructure investment in the MENA region has captured a lot of headlines in recent years, but the overwhelming majority of those stories have been about the eye-catching mega-projects springing up in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Egypt, by comparison, has struggled to attract attention beyond regular reports of political instability and economic uncertainty. The fact that GE has been willing to invest such substantial sums in the country should act as a signal to the rest of the world that Egypt is open for business. And it really is open for business. The current portfolio of the World Bank in Egypt includes 25 projects for a total commitment of about $8.5 billion, including a $1 billion loan approved at the end of 2016. Meanwhile the country - with a rapidly growing population of over 90 million - battles to recover from recent instability as well as its longstanding structural economic problems. Aversion to risk has kept some international operators out of Egypt, but GE has done their homework. According to Vice Chairman John Rice, the company is interested in railway opportunities in Turkey and Algeria as well as the next phase of Egypt`s transport expansion: “Demand for infrastructure continues unabated, the region is shifting to renewables, which is becoming more and more important, and health care is significant… We see tremendous opportunities for growth and we don`t expect that to change.â€? How refreshing to see an international operator looking at the MENA region`s most populous country and its enormous potential, and deciding to get stuck in and start making good things happen. With a bit more of the same in the years to come, the Middle East and North Africa will have a much better chance of creating a prosperous and stable future. The recognition that risk and opportunity go together is nothing new, but there are some new ways of minimising risk when you`re pursuing opportunities in the MENA region. To find out more about them you can visit our website at and see for yourself the range of business intelligence services that we have made available for the entire MENA region.
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