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Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Qalaa’s Ahmed Heikal on the outlook for the Egyptian + global economy post-covid

On another foreign policy-dominated evening, Qalaa Holdings boss Ahmed Heikal’s discussion of the outlook for the Egyptian and global economy post-covid was the business / econ highlight on the airwaves last night. You can watch the full interview here (runtime: 33:50).

While the global economy is unlikely to stage a real recovery before 2025 or 2026, Egypt’s economy could bounce back sooner, largely because we entered the pandemic on solid ground thanks to the government’s economic reform program, Heikal told El Hekaya’s Amr Adib. It’s still far too early in the pandemic to predict with any real certainty where economies are headed, which Heikal says will only really be possible once scientists successfully produce a vaccine or meaningful treatment for the virus.

In the meantime, it’s key for the government to retain the investors we already have, because it’s unlikely that fresh investments are coming soon — simply because nobody is venturing into new markets right now, he said.

Don’t expect an uptick in inflation — and don’t look at the USD rate as the only indicator of Egypt’s economic strength, either, Heikal told Adib. Heikal stressed that the real economy will benefit more from a focus on propping up local manufacturing, which will reduce our reliance on imports and demand for foreign currency.

Heikal praised the Madbouly government’s handling of the outbreak, telling Adib that while the partial lockdown was necessary when it was implemented, the government is also doing the right thing now by beginning to lift these restrictions to jumpstart the economy.

Heikal’s advice for investing in the middle of a pandemic: Diversify and invest in gold and a handful of equities you have confidence in.

On the foreign policy front: Al Kahera Alaan’s Lamees El Hadidi phoned Rep. Emad Gad to discuss Egypt’s position on Libya, which Gad noted has garnered international support, including from France. The MP also told Lamees he hopes to see the Arab League take on a more active and significant role in the issue (watch, runtime: 10:28). Lamees also had a chat with Cairo University’s international law faculty head, Mohamed Amr, who suggested that the UN Security Council will either mediate renewed tripartite negotiations between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, or tap a small number of countries to act as observers (watch, runtime: 8:39).

Baseera Deputy Director Hanan Gerges explained the research center’s methodology in its covid-19 study and broke down the survey’s findings in a phone-in to Al Kahera Alaan (watch, runtime: 9:09). We have the story in What We’re Tracking Today, above.

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