Egypt wants an Apple hub despite ongoing fight over iPhone prices

on Jan23
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Street vendors sell shoes at the Al-Attaba market in the centre of Cairo, Egypt, on February 21, 2018.

Khaled Desouki | AFP | Getty Images

Street vendors sell shoes at the Al-Attaba market in the centre of Cairo, Egypt, on February 21, 2018.

Private sector engagement will be crucial to support Egypt’s burgeoning population, currently facing unemployment of around 10 percent. Some investors remain wary of a still-tense political situation, a fragile banking sector, regional insecurity and insufficient infrastructure.

Egypt nonetheless remains the top recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa, with its FDI stock between 2016 and 2017 increasing from 102 to 109 billion dollars, according to Santander Trade. Egypt’s 2017 Investment Law is expected to aid FDI inflows by adding investor incentives, facilitating registration procedures, improving infrastructure and reducing the heavy red tape for which the country has long been known.

Nasr described Egypt as a strategic location and a “gateway to Africa,” adding that thanks to the free trade agreements Egypt has signed with other African blocs, investors are seeing the country as a portal not simply to its domestic market of 100 million, but to a broader market of 500 million.

But time is of the essence for Egypt. Poverty is on the rise, currently estimated to be near 28 percent, up from 25 percent in 2010, according to the World Bank, and wages have not kept up with the rise in living costs. Crime, corruption and pollution, as well as inadequate social services provision, continue to plague the country’s surging population. The World Bank cites high inflation and the erosion of real incomes as having “taken a toll on social and economic conditions.”

“We’re driving the growth but we’re very ambitious, we’re still not there yet,” Nasr said. “We know we have to do more reforms to do even better in the coming period.”



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