Sisi amends investment law ahead of meet

Members of Egypt’s Republican Guard stand in front of the Conference Center, one day before the Economic Development Conference (EEDC), in Sharm el-Sheikh in the South Sinai governorate. (Reuters)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday ratified an amended investment law that aims to remove obstacles to foreign investments, his office said, on the eve of an international conference.

The amended investment law aims to facilitate overseas funding of projects in Egypt.

It “adopts clear policies that will offer equal opportunities to investors through a transparent framework,” presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef told AFP.

“The law will also facilitate international, Arab and Egyptian investments in the country, as it will create an investor friendly environment.”

It lays down guarantees for deals signed with the government and offers incentives to finance labor-intensive projects.

The law had previously stifled foreign investments as they were vulnerable to legal disputes.

Kerry heads to Egypt

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived Friday in Sharm al-Sheikh where he is to meet Sisi to discuss the fight against Islamic State, an AFP journalist said.

Kerry will also meet Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

Egypt hopes the foreign investor conference will jump-start its battered economy while showcasing international support for Sisi as he battles radical Islamist opponents.

Kerry is due to meet with Sisi -- a former general who led the army’s ouster of elected Islamist president Mohammed Mursi in 2013 and then resigned from the military to stand in the 2014 elections. Kerry could also meet with other Arab and European leaders.

State-owned Ahram Online said “Egypt will be welcoming some 2,000 delegates from 112 nations, including 30 heads of state and executives of multinational companies” in Sharm al-Sheikh.

Egypt’s economic hopes

The authorities are targeting economic growth of 4.3 percent in 2015-2016, compared with two percent annually since a 2011 uprising that ousted longtime president Hosni Mubarak.

The government also aims to continue cutting fuel subsidies, which before the anti-Mubarak revolt accounted for 25 percent of the budget.

It plans to lower the budget deficit to 10 percent from 12.8 percent by next year, and reduce unemployment to 12 percent from the current level of 13.1 percent.

Attack wounds three in Sinai

On the eve of the investment conference, an attack on a checkpoint with rocket-propelled grenades wounded one army officer and two other soldiers in the Egyptian city of al-Arish on Thursday, security sources said, the latest in a string of attacks in the Sinai peninsula.

Sharm el-Sheikh is 340 km (210 miles) south of al-Arish.

Gunmen attacked the army checkpoint at al-Mahajer area south of Arish late on Thursday evening, before fleeing the scene, the sources said. The wounded were moved to a military hospital in the city.

The attacks were concentrated in North Sinai, epicenter of an insurgency by militants seeking to topple the Cairo government.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But Islamist militants based in Sinai have killed hundreds of soldiers and police since the toppling of Mursi.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44
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