Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (Jbic), Japans export credit agency (ECA), is targeting Egypt as a key growth market in the coming years, starting from, hopefully, the upcoming economic development conference in Sharm el-Sheikh on 13-15 March.
Companies from all sections of the construction, engineering and project financing markets are hoping Egypts projects market can finally deliver on its clear potential. The upcoming investment conference will offer a barometer on what is in the pipeline and how these schemes will be procured and financed.
While concern remains regarding the prospects for the heavily hydrocarbons-driven GCC projects market in the coming years as a result of the lower oil prices, Egypt offers a different proposition. As the most populous Arab country, with population growth remaining robust, much of its infrastructure is ill-equipped to meet the needs of its people. In 2013 and 2014, Cairo experienced winter electricity blackouts for the first time in many years as installed capacity could not meet peak demand. The country is also facing an increasingly concerning water situation as a result of rampant demand.
Housing is another area that needs to be addressed, with severe shortages in supply of adequate dwellings for Cairos vast population.
Years of underinvestment and poor maintenance of its energy infrastructure has also resulted in an urgent requirement for fresh international expertise and capital. Under the stewardship of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, there has been growing optimism that Egypt is almost investment-ready again.
All attendees at the upcoming conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, including Jbic, are hopeful the event can be the springboard the country needs to start moving ahead with its much-needed development programme.