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Wednesday, 09 September 2015

Egypt to agree new investment laws by year end

Egyptian authorities are reportedly close to agreeing new laws governing the country’s General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI) and aim to have changes in place by the end of this year, according to officials.

The GAFI has established nine free zones within Egypt and one of the primary aims of these has been to attract investors to port and infrastructure development projects that support increased import and export.

“Agreement of the economic group in the cabinet on the amendments of the Investment Law will be reached before the end of this year; the issue will be discussed in the meeting of the ministerial group, in the next period,” Alaa Omar, chairman of the GAFI said in comments to local news agency Daily News Egypt.

Suez Canal bolsters plans to develop Safaga port

Last month, authorities opened the $8.2 billion Suez Canal  expansion, a cornerstone of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s policy  to support greater sea trade via Egypt.

It is hoped the new 35 km stretch of waterway will attract further East-West trade and reignite investor interest in the country’s port and infrastructure sector, attracting  an additional $13.23 billion in revenue to the country by 2023. 

The project has involved deepening and widening of existing channels to allow for larger mega-vessels and to create a two lane system that allows ships to pass simultaneously and the new laws around free zones are designed to facilitate further integration with the country’s industrial heartlands.

“We have 21 industrial zones in Upper Egypt . GAFI tends to expand in the general free zones in parallel with its desire to restore working through the special free zones.,” Omar said.

“It is necessary to develop Safaga port, and to launch container terminals and dry ports in the next period, to guarantee the success of the new free zones. The Ministry of Investment intends to submit a memo to the cabinet to approve launching general free zone on 300 acres in Minya.”

“GAFI will send the projects’ feasibility studies to a number of targeted companies in some of the Arab, Asian, and European countries, in the beginning of next October, in order to encourage them to contribute to the new projects.”

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