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Egypt keeps going its own way

Significant new oil finds and the completion of several large liquefied natural gas projects will shortly give Egypt's hard-currency earnings a much needed boost. However, continued fiscal and regulatory reform is needed if Cairo is to succeed in creating sustainable and broadly based economic growth.

Fiscal and regulatory reform is needed if Cairo is to succeed in creating sustainable and broadly based economic growth

"When I rang our clients this time last year and said they should invest in Egypt, they laughed. I rang them up a few months later and told them they'd missed returns of 13%. I still didn't get any calls. I rang them up a few months later and told them they'd missed returns of 38%. That started to wake them up. And when in the next call I said 45% we really started to get some interest." Mohamed Younes, chairman of Concord International Investments, laughs as he recalls the uphill struggle to interest his clients - specialist foreign equity buyers and high-net-worth individuals - in a country that has suffered from its association with the Middle East conflict and the war against terrorism.


In particular, Younes is dismayed by what he sees as "the absolute dichotomy between perception and reality". By this he means that investors assume that the Egyptian economy, given its dependence on tourism, must have nose-dived after September 11 and then the invasion of Iraq.


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