Exporters are anticipating a growth in the value of Egyptian exports over the upcoming period, especially after the devaluation of the Egyptian pound by more than 100%, which gave Egyptian products a competitive price advantage in international markets.
The Egyptian government is relying on increasing exports to mobilise more US dollar resources with poor tourism and direct foreign investment revenues after recent reforms.
According to Minister of Industry and Trade Tarek Kabil, the ministry is preparing a strategy that aims to double Egyptian exports to $30-34bn by 2020, compared to only $18.5bn in 2016.
“We are coordinating with different export sectors to set a strategy that relies on identifying target markets and the competitive advantages of each export sector while connecting this with all agencies concerned with exporting, whether those be trade offices or logistic centres established by the Egyptian Exporters Association or even financing mechanisms provided by the Export Development Bank or any other bank. This should come with activating guarantee mechanisms for risks, especially in the African market,” Kabil said.
Hani Berzi, businessman and head of the Food Export Council, said that all current circumstances allow a leap in exports after the pound’s devaluation, which added a competitive price advantage for Egyptian products.
“Exports are a matter of life or death for Egypt. Non-oil products are the largest source of foreign currencies for the Egyptian government. The cabinet knows well that priority must be given to exports,” he added.
Berzi, who is also the chairperson of Edita Food Industries, suggested forming a supreme council for exports that formulates policies to double exports and overcome obstacles facing exporters, as well as provide them with encouraging incentives. “Exports are a sustainable source for US dollar resources which create development,” he noted.
Berzi stressed that it is necessary to have professional training, as the value of Egyptian exports right now does not exceed $20bn, compared to imports of nearly $80bn, which is considered a crisis and unsuitable for a state as large as Egypt. The matter needs a real serious vision to carry out reforms in the industrial sector and encourage exporters.
“Doubling exports must be a national goal for the Egyptian regime during the upcoming period,” he added.
Ashraf El Gazayerly, head of the chamber of food industries in the Federation of Egyptian Industries, said that Egypt is able to achieve large leaps in its exports during the upcoming period to benefit from the recent measures, such as currency devaluation and increasing customs fees on imports.
“Current exports are too weak, so policies to encourage industries are important in order to meet the needs of the local market and direct the surplus to foreign countries abroad and bring in hard currencies,” he noted.
Alaa Ezz, secretary general of the Federation of the Chambers of Commerce, revealed that Egyptian exports grew by 20% since the pound’s flotation, noting that imports will decline as a result of the decision.
“Increasing exports needs more promotion in order to take advantage of the liberalisation of the exchange rate, as well as funding programmes to support exports urgently,” he said.