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Sunday, 5 May 2019

Egypt, Lebanon ink five agreements during Arab Economic Forum

Egypt, Lebanon ink a flurry of agreements during Arab Economic Forum, cementing closer ties: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and his Lebanese counterpart Saad Hariri signed five MoUs during the Arab Economic Forum in Beirut on Thursday, according to a cabinet statement. The agreements will see the two countries exchange tax expertise, deepen collaboration on technology, increase Egyptian exports of construction materials to Lebanon, and look for mutual investment options over the coming two years. The Egyptian-Lebanese Business Council also signed another four cooperation agreements to develop business incubators and increase Egyptian investment in the Tripoli Special Economic Zone, among other things, a separate cabinet statement said.

Egyptian companies are interested in Lebanon’s electricity sector, Madbouly told Lebanese President Michel Aoun during the event, according to a Cabinet statement. Local press reports noting that Egypt may be exporting excess electricity to Lebanon also emerged from the sidelines of the forum, citing Cabinet Spokesperson Nader Saad.

Hariri waxes lyrical on Egypt’s economy: “Lebanon is faced with two alternatives: economic collapse or following Egypt’s path [toward reform],” Hariri said during the forum, adding that his country is suffering from high debt and corruption levels and widespread misuse of public funds. The Associated Press also has the story.

Egypt wants to attract USD 200 bn of investment and USD 47 bn in net FDI over the next four years, Madbouly said in his speech at the conference. The prime minister also announced the government is now targeting an annual growth rate of 8% by FY 2021-22. This is a notable upwards revision from the 7.3% growth forecast made in November last year. The government last week revised downwards its FY2018-19 growth forecast to 5.6% from 5.8%.

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