Egypt targets 4 to 4.5 percent growth next year, says minister

The country is targeting a 3.5 percent growth rate in the 2013-2014 fiscal year

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Egypt is targeting growth of between 4 and 4.5 percent in the next fiscal year, its planning minister said on Sunday, as the government pushes on with plans to stimulate the economy and transition to democratic rule.

“The investment plan for the 2014/2015 financial year is still under study and it aims to achieve a growth rate that ranges between 4-4.5 percent,” Ashraf al-Arabi said in remarks carried by state news agency MENA.

The country of 85 million people, which has been battered by more than two years of political turmoil, grew a meager 2.1 percent in the year to end June 30. It is targeting 3.5 percent growth rate in the current 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Supported by more than $12 billion in Gulf aid, Egypt introduced a 30bn pound stimulus package in 2013 and plans to launch another package of about the same size later this month.

The country is moving towards democratic rule in accordance with the road map announced by its army, which ousted Islamist President Mursi in July following mass protests against his rule. Presidential and parliamentary elections are due to take place this year.

“[The forecast] is building on a relatively more optimistic scenario,” Mohamed Abu Basha, an economist at EFG Hermes, said about next year’s growth forecast.

“In the next fiscal year, at least in the second half, you will be done with the elections and will have the road map behind your back so that may result in a pickup in the economy.”