Egypt expects to double exports to $100bn within three years, prime minister says

Country plans to build strategic stockpile of all major commodities, with up to six months' cover

The President, Sheikh Mohamed, with Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, left, and Jordanian Prime Minister Bishr Al-Khasawneh in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Ministry of Presidential Affairs
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Egypt plans to double its exports to $100 billion in the next two to three years, its prime minister said after signing a new industrial partnership with the UAE and Jordan to bolster Arab economic integration.

The Arab world's third-biggest economy is also planning to build a strategic stockpile of all major commodities, with up to six months' cover, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly told UAE state-run news agency Wam.

“Today, we witness, through the launch of Industrial partnership for Sustainable Economic Growth, an important day for the peoples of the three countries, especially this partnership … in light of the unprecedented economic challenges witnessed globally,” he said on Sunday.

“These challenges reflect the significance of integration and co-ordination among our countries to secure and provide the main commodities and products our peoples need.

“We are working to increase and double exports to bring Egypt's exports to more than $100bn over the next two or three years.”

The UAE, Egypt and Jordan have entered into an industrial partnership aimed at boosting sustainable growth and exploring opportunities for joint investments in priority sectors.

The development comes at a time when there is a push for greater inter-Arab economic co-operation in the face of global challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia's military offensive in Ukraine.

The partnership is also part of a wider effort by the UAE to help to bolster the economy of Egypt, the most populous Arab country, as it faces food security challenges linked to the Ukraine war.

Egypt is a major importer of wheat and had, in the past, relied on the two European countries for about half of its grain imports.

The North African country is working to contain the economic impact of the conflict. It raised its interest rates in March and devalued its currency, the Egyptian pound.

In May, it raised key interest rates by 200 basis points, as the Central Bank of Egypt sought to contain double-digit inflation fuelled by high import costs.

Mr Madbouly said several countries were struggling with inflation and higher interest rates, with many people affected by the rise in prices of various essential commodities and shortages.

Economic integration and co-ordination with the UAE and Jordan will contribute to self-sufficiency as Egypt moves to boost local exports, he said.

Despite the lack of supply chains and products worldwide, the North African country has shown its capabilities and potential, as well as its infrastructure, he said.

Mr Madbouly said high-level co-ordination within a few days had contributed to the flexibility and speed required to carry out projects, agreements and partnerships, which may take several months.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, told a joint conference on Sunday in Abu Dhabi that the UAE, Jordan and Egypt have a combined gross domestic product of about $765bn and more than 60 million young people.

Mr Madbouly told the conference that Egypt's economy is expected to expand by 6.2 per cent in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, one of the best economic growth rates during this period.

Non-oil exports grew 20 per cent to more than $32bn in 2021, despite the coronavirus pandemic. They grew by 21 per cent in the first three months of 2022, underscoring the industrial sector's strength and the overall economy's resilience, Mr Madbouly said.

Last week, Moody's Investors Service affirmed Egypt’s sovereign credit rating on the “proactive crisis response” of authorities and its track record of economic and fiscal reforms over the past six years.

The “B2" long-term foreign and local currency issuer ratings underpin Egypt's broad and dedicated domestic funding base that helps it to weather tightening financing conditions, Moody’s said.

The government is also seeking partnerships with the US private sector to boost green investment in the country as it prepares to host Cop27 in November.

Egypt aims to increase renewable energy sources to 42 per cent of its energy mix by 2035.

Updated: May 30, 2022, 11:56 AM