Economic reforms introduced beginning in 2004 have had a noticeable impact on the economy’s performance. In the three years prior to the global financial crisis, GDP growth averaged 7% per annum and FDI peaked at $13.2bn in 2007/08. However, the events of the past two years have underlined the fact that Egypt’s growth over the previous years has not been shared by all sectors of society, although the subsequent turmoil has dramatically complicated attempts to overhaul or reform some of the more delicate issues facing Egypt’s economy. Recent political upheaval has adversely affected key sectors: tourism receipts fell by 29.6% in 2011 and FDI saw a net outflow, contributing -0.2% to GDP in the same year. With the IMF cutting its 2013 forecast for GDP growth to 2% and predicting unemployment to hit 13.5%, combined with the budget deficit reaching 11.8% of GDP in the first 11 months of the 2012/13 fiscal year, according to the Ministry of Finance, the challenge remains a significant one.
This chapter contains interviews with Anis Aclimandos, President, American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt; and Walid El Nohazy, Executive President, Arab Mediterranean Free Trade Agreement (Agadir Agreement).