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Egyptian Assets Up for Grabs

FILE - An employee counts money at an exchange office in downtown Cairo, Egypt, June 5, 2014.

Several Gulf nations have acted on a chance to purchase assets in Egypt, following an announcement by the north African nation that it will sell nearly $40 Billion in assets over four years in a bid to revive its economy. For more, VOA’s Mohammed Elshinnawi spoke to expert, Mohamed Anwar El Sadat

The interview was edited for brevity and clarity.

VOA: What do you think about the attempts made by Egypt to revive its ailing economy by selling off its assets?

Anwar El Sadat: Egypt is going through a tough time, politically and economically. This has pushed the government to take its position of selling $40 billion in assets over the next four years. We also have seen some of the gulf countries making use of this opportunity by acquiring some of the best assets on sale, for example the banks and industrial companies. As Egypt we must be careful about selling off these assets because they are important towards serving locals. I think it would have been better if those investors were presented with an opportunity to initiate new projects which would add value by creating employment and new markets because selling off important assets is of no benefit to Egypt.

VOA: According to data collected by the World Bank in July, Egypt must repay $33 billion in debt by March 2023, which is an amount equivalent to the north African nations current foreign exchange reserves. How is Egypt dealing with the debt crisis and the acquisition?

Anwar El Sadat: Government does not have much to say about this. We have a budget and planning committee, tasked to oversee all agreements signed by Egypt, however this committee has been unsuccessful in holding government to account. Paying off $33 billion by March 2023 presents a lot of pressure on our economy and will stunt any development in the country, especially in important sectors such as healthcare, education, and other social programs. However, government has expressed confidence in its plans to deal with the current challenges, which I think will be difficult because we know what resources we have. Gulf countries have supported us over the last couple of months, however that financial support will not last, and we have witnessed change as they begin to request assets, equity and guarantees of repayment.

Egypt Sells Assets to Save Economy
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