Back to the complete issue
Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Structural reform is more than just a buzz phrase, it’s what Egypt needs

The Egyptian economy’s cyclical rebound from the pandemic “keeps getting postponed,” Credit Suisse head of MENA research Fahd Iqbal said on Bloomberg Daybreak this morning (watch, runtime: 8:47). “There are only a handful of countries in the Middle East where we really started to see the vaccine rollout go through in a meaningful way,” meaning that Egypt — a country relatively slow in its vaccination program — could see “a lag” in this upturn. A delay in vaccinations would also slow down how quickly a global rebound from the covid-19 crisis translates into gains for trade and tourism and for Egyptian equities, Iqbal said. “The upcoming [EGX] earnings season is going to be quite critical in terms of seeing whether or not that cyclical recovery is indeed manifesting itself,” he added.

But is a cyclical recovery enough? Egypt needs a “better structural growth outlook,” Iqbal points out. This has to happen through more support to the private sector, a portion of which feel it is being “crowded out” of macroeconomic gains, he says. Policymakers need to ensure Egypt is supportive of enterprise growth and develop “a regulatory environment at ease,” as well as make an effort to improve private sector access to capital. “The fact that it is being addressed is certainly an encouraging first step.” But historically for many parts of the MENA region, the delivery of such policies “has been a bit more underwhelming versus what the market was expecting,” Iqbal adds.

DIVE DEEPER- We’ve recently covered a research report by HSBC’s Simon Williams, who says the country’s economic challenges stem from structural issues including heavy state involvement, weak capital formation, weak national savings, and poverty.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt; Hassan Allam Properties (tax ID:  553-096-567), one of Egypt’s most prominent and leading builders; and Saleh, Barsoum & Abdel Aziz (tax ID: 220-002-827), the leading audit, tax and accounting firm in Egypt.