Egypt’s finance minister Hani Qadri has said he expects the country’s economy to grow by 6 per cent in the next five years as part of a new development strategy.

The plan covers the years up to 2018/19 and aims to reinvigorate Egypt’s economy, which has slowed to an annual growth rate of just 2.2 per cent in the year 2013/14.

Qadri said that he hoped growth would reach 3.5 per cent in 2014-15. The ministry of finance is also working to reduce the budget deficit to 10.5 per cent during the current fiscal year. The deficit stood at 12.6 per cent of GDP in 2013/14.

The macro-economic policy further aims to reduce government debt to 80-85 per cent of GDP over the next five years. Increasing employment and boosting exports are also key targets.

The government expects investment, particularly in infrastructure, will drive growth in the current fiscal year with the private sector set to take on a bigger role.

In particular, the new Suez Canal projects, low-cost housing developments, roads and improvements to the country’s utilities is expected to generate growth.

The plan envisages private sector investment to rise to 15 per cent of GDP during the next five years, returning to levels seen before the 2008 financial crisis.

It is working on a public-private partnership (PPP) programme to further boost private sector activity, in an effort to lessen the burden on government finances.

Egypt intends to reform its tax system to improve revenue streams, including the introduction of VAT, which is set to be brought in by 2014/15.

Income tax rates have also been increased by 5 per cent for corporates and individuals earning more than E£1m ($140m) for a period of 3 years.