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Chapter | Economy from The Report: Papua New Guinea 2020

Papua New Guinea has an abundance of wealth in hydrocarbons and minerals that provides it with a solid foundation for economic growth, but also leaves the country vulnerable to the volatility of global commodity markets. As such, the government is following a long-term economic development strategy that aims to expand the state’s revenue share from lucrative extractive projects, encourage offshore processing of natural resources, promote inclusive growth and attract new investments in sectors deemed to offer significant potential, notably agriculture. The government took decisive actions to prevent community transmission of Covid-19, which constrained business activity in the first half of 2020 but also left the country well placed to bounce back without widespread public health consequences. If policymakers can maintain their success in containing the virus and conclude negotiations for resource projects while channelling revenue towards other productive sectors, the prospects for investment are bright. This chapter contains interviews with Sasindran Muthuvel, Minister for State-Owned Enterprises; and Ian Ling-Stuckey, Treasurer.

Chapter | Trade & Investment from The Report: Papua New Guinea 2020

In recent years Papua New Guinea’s trade and investment environment has been characterised by government policies aimed at generating wider fiscal and social benefits from the country’s resource wealth, while simultaneously growing exports and decreasing imports as it develops a broader economic base. Around 86% of exports from PNG are generated by the extractive industries, principally liquefied natural gas and gold. The government is keen to nurture the development of other high-potential segments such as agri-business – particularly given that around 85% of the population is dependent upon agriculture for their livelihoods. Following uncertainty created by the US-China trade war, the global trade and investment environment has been further clouded by the Covid-19 crisis in 2020. Nevertheless, PNG remains a country with rich potential, thanks to its untapped natural resources and strategic proximity to the high-growth markets of Asia. This chapter contains interviews with Scott Roger, Mission Chief for Papua New Guinea, IMF; and Clarence Hoot, Managing Director, Investment Promotion Agency.

Chapter | Economy from The Report: Egypt 2020

Following a currency crisis in 2016, Egypt implemented a series of reforms, the results of which are apparent across key macroeconomic indicators. GDP growth rose from 5.3% in FY 2017/18 to 5.6% in FY 2018/19, and unemployment fell to 7.5%. Although Egypt faces the challenges of 2020 from a relatively robust position, lockdown measures and market turbulence have significantly impacted the economy. In April 2020 the Ministry of Finance downgraded its growth forecast for FY 2020/21 from 4.5% to 3.5%, before reducing this further to 2% in May 2020. Nevertheless, this makes Egypt the only Arab economy expected to experience positive GDP growth in 2020 and one of the few countries worldwide not set to enter recession. While the full impact of the pandemic remains to be seen, the country has moved to mitigate the worst effects by boosting government investment, and supporting small businesses and strategic industries that were adversely affected by the crisis. This chapter contains interviews with Mohamed Maait, Minister of Finance; and Ahmed Abd El Wahab, Executive Director, General Authority for Investment and Free Zones.

Chapter | Legal Framework from The Report: Egypt 2020

This chapter explores Egypt’s legal system, including the laws that are most relevant for foreign investors. These include those that regulate corporate operations, labour, investment and property, as well as the regulations governing the country’s free zones. In recent years efforts have been made to ensure that local and international investors are treated equally, and a number of business types are open to full foreign ownership.

Chapter | Tax from The Report: Egypt 2020

This chapter offers an overview of Egypt’s taxation system, which has undergone a number of reforms in recent years in an effort to build an investor-friendly environment. Recent changes include the introduction of stamp tax on the disposal of securities, updates to the progressive rate for personal income tax, and the proposal of a simple regime for small and medium-sized enterprises. It contains a viewpoint from Cherif Hammouda, Partner, RSM.

Chapter | Health & Education from The Report: Egypt 2020

Both the health and education sectors are in the process of significant reform. A universal health insurance (UHI) plan is currently being implemented, which promises widespread change to the nation’s administration of care. Although Covid-19 has placed a considerable strain on health infrastructure, the pandemic provides Egypt with an opportunity to streamline reforms and strengthen weak spots in the system. The rollout of the UHI scheme, alongside the growth of the local pharmaceuticals industry, should also help to attract investment. Meanwhile, for the next decade, the Ministry of Education is focused on implementing a major reform programme known as Education 2.0. The initiative plans to overhaul K-12 schooling by introducing student-centred teaching and competency-based learning, with a strong focus on technology. Although the country’s schools still face challenges of overcrowding and poor-quality infrastructure, the authorities’ increasing openness to international and private investment should ensure that the outlook remains bright.

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