Linking North Africa to the Middle East, Egypt is with over 86 million inhabitants the most populated country in the MENA region. The majority of the population lives in the fertile regions around the Nile, with the capital Cairo as the biggest city, followed by Alexandria, located on the Mediterranean coast.
Though Egypt has one of the most diversified and developed economies of the middle east, the recent period of political turmoil has slowed down its economic growth. In 2013, Egypt’s GDP amounted 262 billion US dollars, with a real growth rate of 1,8%, compared to 5,1% in 2010 . However, current statistics reveal that the growth rate has been picking up since the beginning of 2014: the country’s current GDP of 272 billion showed a growth rate of 3.5% in September 2014.
Egypt’s revolution in the beginning of 2011 led to the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, after nearly 30 years of presidency. The in 2012 elected president and front man of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Morsi was ousted by a military coup d’état in July 2013. Since June 2014 Egypt’s new president is Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for the beginning of 2015.
The oil and gas sector. Egypt is the largest oil producer outside the OPEC, and Africa’s second largest gas producer, after Algeria. Oil production takes place in the desert areas of the Gulf of Suez, the Western Desert, the Eastern Desert and the Sinai Peninsula.
Agri- and horticulture. Though more than 90% of Egypt’s land consists of desert and hence only less than 10% is arable, the land is productive and can be cropped multiple times per year. Roughly, agriculture contributes 15% to the GDP, and employs one-fourth of the work force. Agriculture in Egypt depends heavily on irrigation and requires innovative solutions, such as saline water usage. Moreover, despite Egypt’s limited resources of freshwater, its aquaculture sector has shown a great potential since the 1990s and continues to grow.
Transport and logistics. Egypt is well known for being the gatekeeper of the Suez Canal, one of the world’s busiest corridors linking the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The canal is currently being expanded with a second section of the canal, which should significantly reduce the waiting time as well as increase the canal’s total capacity.
Renewable energy. Power cuts are, according to Egypt’s minister of investment, the biggest hurdle to luring foreign investors to Egypt. Solar and wind power projects have the potential to solve these issues and are a top priority for investment attraction.