Business circles charmed by el-Sisi’s voluntarism

This week-end took place the Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) in Sharm el-Sheikh. The conference whose main purpose was to reposition Egypt on the global investment map has been successful according to people who attended. Not only a key milestone of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and his government’s medium term economic development plan, the EEDC also marked the recognition by business circles of field marshal and former director of military intelligence el-Sisi as the legitimate leader of Egypt. Beyond criticism as regards the imprisonment of former President Mohamed Morsi and his partisans, the general context has undoubtedly improved. El-Sisi benefited from strong popular domestic support, started to restore global stability that is essential for business to grow and gained international respect by stressing Egypt’s unity against terrorism. El-Sisi’s unprecedented visit as Egypt’s top leader to the Coptic Christians during Christmas Eve mass drew much positive opinion from western countries.

What have been the conference’s positive results so far? Several agreements worth around $4 billion were signed with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) on electricity and oil imports developments; additional evidence of the Arab countries’ support to el-Sisi. General Electric (GE) announced it will invest in multi-modal facility. “The government is creating a positive environment for businesses through the removal of trade barriers,” GE’s Chairman & CEO Jeffrey Immelt said. The Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum and Italy’s Eni committed to the development of Egypt’s oil and gas resources by signing a Heads of Agreement (HOA) document worth an estimated total value of $5 billion. Several weeks after the historic deal between Egypt and France for the procurement of 24 Rafale fighter jets, Egypt has been working hard at becoming the global economic and political hub between Africa and the Middle East that it has the potential to be. “Here comes positive news from this violence-ridden region, and all this may be the start of something good finally,” an attendee told Cyceon.