Egypt Special Report: ElBaradei return prompts political reform hopes

06 April 2010

Like countries the world over, Egypt has felt the force of the global financial crisis. As a major oil and gas exporter and a key trading partner with Europe, Cairo has seen its export revenues shrink on the back of the collapse in energy prices and the economic turmoil in European Union.

Foreign direct investment into the country has also fallen, dropping 39 per cent, from $13.2bn before the crisis to below $8bn in the fiscal year ending June 2009. But despite this, the country’s economy is still growing.

In 2009, Egypt’s gross domestic product grew by 4.7 per cent. Although this represents a sharp slowdown from the 7 per cent growth recorded in 2008, it is nonetheless a strong performance in a year which saw the world’s largest economies fall into recession.

Cairo’s efforts to stimulate growth through billion-dollar stimulus packages and export subsidies, as well as offering incentives to encourage investment in industry, are keeping the economy moving forward.

As a result, the country should be well placed to return to the high growth rates seen in the years leading up to the recession, once the global recovery truly sets in and demand for its exports rebounds – when that happens, however, is one thing the country cannot engineer itself.

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