Proposal for ‘nationality by investment’ to boost Egypt economy

A proposal to grant Egyptian citizenship to investors who contribute large sums of money has been suggested

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A proposal to grant Egyptian citizenship to investors who contribute large sums of money has been suggested this week to improve the country’s economy. The proposal, which is yet to be presented to the Egyptian government, aims to generate much needed funds to support Egypt’s economic recovery.

The project, proposed by Sameh Sedki, the head of the Arab Union for Direct Investment, will grant citizenship to a man, his wife and all his children under the age of 15 in exchange for $250,000.

“The amount will be transferred to the fund Finance the Construction of Egypt (Sandouq Tamweel Benaa Masr). I think it’s a reasonable price for both parties,” Sedki told Al Arabiya News.

The amount required could increase in the future depending on the economic situation, he added.

Another factor in the proposal is to offer citizenship to foreigners who deposit either $3.5 million for five years, or $5 million for three years, with no interest. The investment would be refunded in Egyptian pounds.

“The liquidity made available by these investors will help boost the economy,” Sedki said, adding that it would also generate jobs.

Investment in schools, universities or hospitals in disadvantaged areas is another way suggested to gain citizenship.
Locations and amounts payable are to be determined by the government, Sedki said.

All applicants will fill out a form and go through an approval process consisting of a full check on their economic, cultural and social statuses, conducted by a committee of seven to nine people, Sedki said.

However, no one affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, carrying an infectious disease, or from Israel are allowed to apply, he said.

The government has the right to reject any applicant without explanation, “like a visa,” Sedki said, adding that citizens with another nationality would be allowed to have both passports.

Sedki said he was expecting around 2 million applicants in the first month following the official announcement of the proposal.

He said some potential applicants are influential families already living in Egypt and running businesses in the country.

Explaining why investors might prefer to get Egyptian nationality instead of a European one, Sedki said taxes are lower and “the workforce in Egypt is much cheaper.”

Arab investors might be attracted by Egyptian citizenship as they share a similar language and culture, he added.

The project will be presented to the cabinet.

Sedki said he came up with the idea following calls from Austria and Malta asking him to acquire their citizenship in exchange for investments. He added that he only has an Egyptian passport.

European countries facing economic crises have in recent years launched similar initiatives.

The United States offers a residency permit in exchange for a $500,000 investment in a project that provides jobs for at least 10 people, or $1 million in the applicant’s own business.

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