Egypt’s Finance Minister Mohamed Maeet asserted on Monday that the present global economic mobility is witnessing noticeable slowdown as so reflected in growth rates, coupled with a large extent of uncertainty. Under such circumstances, he added, the economies of developing countries face several negative effects at a time when they are endeavouring to initiate measures to contain inflation.
Minister Maeet’s remarks came while speaking to a session themed “Global Economy and Health” as part of the two-day conference of G20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs that kick started in Gandhinagar, India, on Monday.
The conference aims to look into ways of addressing such critical global economic issues as debt restructuring, bank reforms and funding climate action.
Observing that the present setting of the global economy is experiencing an increase in financing costs, the disruption of supply chains and a rise in financial stability risks, Minister Maeet said that such multiple shocks and risks are conducive to eroding the capacity of developing economies to maintain the flexibility and adaptability needed for addressing the global changes.
These developments in the scene of the global economy, Minister Maeet said, demand bolstering the support that international financial institutions extend to developing countries.
Highlighting Egypt’s response to the ongoing changes in the global economic setting, Minister Maeet said: “We in Egypt adopt a balanced approach to support the economy while maintaining fiscal discipline, and we recorded a primary surplus of 1.7 per cent of GDP during the last fiscal year that ended at in June 2023.”
The finance minister also noted that Egypt has initiated four successive social protection packages to mitigate the inflationary effects on citizens, especially hardest hit groups.
He also indicated that Egypt’s hosting of the world climate summit (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh last November signaled the peaking of the country’s efforts to stimulate investment in renewable energy sources and the transition to a green economy.
In this context, Minister Maeet pointed to the government’s strategy to grant the “golden licence” to investors in environment-friendly projects, including: green hydrogen, electric cars, infrastructure, sea water desalination and renewable energy projects.
This, he added, will considerably factor in stimulating private investments in the development path and achieving competitive neutrality to push the private sector and maximise its contributions to the national economy.
Minister Maeet also underlines that the Suez Canal achieved revenues of $9.4 billion in the last fiscal year, compared to $7 billion in the fiscal year 2021/2022, while natural gas exports amounted to $4.9 billion during 2022/2023.
The non-oil trade balance deficit reached $8.3 billion compared to $12.8 billion for the same period of the fiscal year 2021/2022, and service exports grew by 19 per cent during the first half of the year 2021/2022 compared to the same period in 2019.
The last fiscal year also saw tourism industry revenues rising by 26 per cent, Minister Maeet said, adding that the digitisation of all tax and customs systems is steadily progressing in a way that made it possible to achieve marked growth in annual tax revenues, touching up 23.1 per cent in the last fiscal year.
As for health, the minister said that Egypt is taking effective steps to bolster the provision of healthcare services to citizens especially through expanding the Universal Health Insurance (UHI) system, which is based on developing the health infrastructure in the governorates and raising the efficiency of the health system in line with the world’s best health systems.
The minister also referred to the presidential healthcare initiatives that helped improve the quality of medical services provided to citizens nationwide and eliminate waiting lists for patients suffering from critical conditions.
He also noted in this connection that Egypt has managed to become one of the world’s first HCV-free countries through an unprecedented testing and detection campaign, in addition to the initiative for the early detection of incommunicable diseases.