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Monday, 2 November 2020

Supporting small businesses is near the top of the list of things HSBC says Cairo needs to do next if we want to cope with population growth

Supporting small businesses is near the top of the list of things HSBC says Cairo needs to do next if we want to cope with population growth: Successful urban growth management, embracing sustainability, and supporting entrepreneurial potential must be key development priorities for Cairo over the next several years, HSBC says in a city report (pdf) on the capital city. As one of the world’s fastest-growing megacities, Cairo’s population is expected to grow by 35% by 2030 to hit 28.5 mn residents. This growth “has added to imperatives to plan and invest effectively to reduce growth externalities,” the report says, pointing specifically to overcrowding, traffic congestion, and pollution. To achieve a higher quality of living for its residents while curbing the negative effects on the environment, the bank says it is imperative that Cairo’s development focuses on creating an adequate supply of housing and building “genuine new centers of demand, jobs and services” to accommodate its growing population. Cairo should also capitalize on its growing base of innovation and entrepreneurial talent “to adjust the policy mix to translate the promise of its SMEs into large scale commercialization serving African and global markets,” HSBC says.

If Cairo gets it right, we’ll cement our status as a key global trade hub and “global gateway” between Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and wider Asia, the report says. “Egypt’s proven ability to evolve in response to constant change over millennia can be seen clearly in Cairo’s response to supporting sustainable development and business growth despite the uncertainty caused by covid-19,” said HSBC Egypt CEO Todd Wilcox.

The report also takes note of the country’s sustainable development strategy, Egypt 2030, which includes the construction of the new administrative capital and other new cities, the development of public transport services — including the upgrade of the Ring Road, establishing the first monorail line, and introducing electric buses — as well as embracing green projects. Egypt plans to invest EGP 3.67 bn in green projects in FY2020-2021 — around 14 of its total investment budget for the fiscal year — Planning Minister Hala El Said said last month. Green projects are expected to account for 30% of government investments in FY2021-2022, according to the minister. El Said’s announcement came after Egypt successfully launched the region’s first sovereign green bond issuance, the proceeds of which have been earmarked for more than five major projects in transport, water, and waste management.

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