Egypt plans to offer billions of dollars worth of transport, energy and other projects in partnership with private firms over the next five years after rules to ease such deals are approved, officials have said.
The most populous Arab country is eager to get private companies more involved in education, healthcare, infrastructure and other sectors traditionally handled only by the government to boost economic growth and trim its budget deficit, according to a report in our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News.
But its ‘public-private partnership’ programme still faces obstacles, including limitations on local bank financing, foreign exchange rate fluctuations, red tape and competition from nearby countries with similar programmes.
Orascom Construction Industries won the country’s first public-private partnership concession last year in a 50-50 joint venture with the water division of Spain’s FCC.
‘Egypt by its sheer size represents an attractive opportunity in infrastructure development, and it is sustainable,’ Osama Bishai, managing director at Orascom, said.
He said Egypt’s young, growing population, increasing consumption, and need for more infrastructure were incentives for firms interested in public-private partnerships.
Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali said Egypt aimed to draw 100 billion Egyptian pounds ($17.3bn) of investment into public-private partnerships over the next five years.
Rania Zayed, director of the Public Private Partnership Central Unit at the Finance Ministry, said she expects the cabinet to approve executive regulations by the end of the year, which will allow the government to start opening tenders