British Newspaper “Financial Times” revealed that Egypt becomes The latest focus of bankers’ attention، as the Arab world’s most populous country recovers from years of economic instability and begins its own major reform drive.
The newspaper noted that Less than two years ago، HSBC was helping the country’s central bank secure emergency funding ahead of a bailout from the IMF، but now the lender’s regional boss is confident about the outlook for Egypt.
“We’ve been there through thick and thin”، says Georges Elhedery، HSBC’s Middle East and north Africa chief executive. “We’ve always had a long-term positive view of Egypt، and as the economy rebounds we are optimistic about the next few years.”
Moreover، The Newspaper added that Mr Elhedery is not alone in his optimism. The early reforms demanded by the IMF as part of the bailout — including cutting subsidies and removing controls on the Egyptian pound— pushed inflation above 30 per cent.
But with the economy stabilising and the government promising more market-friendly changes، the country is increasingly drawing the attention of international banks.
Karim Tannir، JPMorgan’s head of investment banking for Middle East and north Africa، says he sees “a lot of potential in Egypt”، adding: “The country is embarking on several reform initiatives، including privatisation which we expect to be an important theme in the coming years.”
The government plans to offload stakes in 23 different state companies over the next two years، with the first two set to take place in October، The Newspaper said.
Mohamed Ebeid، co-chief executive of investment banking at EFG Hermes، the regional investment bank، says: “It’s a good sign because this push from different international banks and entities increases the potential of foreign investor participation in the market.”
Meanwhile، the Newspaper quoted Julien Faye، head of financial services for Middle East and north Africa at Bain، the consultancy، as saying that there is “a definite window of opportunity” in Egypt، pointing to planned infrastructure projects and natural gas discoveries that have already attracted overseas investment.