Egypts economy has struggled mightily over the past two years in the wake of the Arab Uprisings. All the countrys major revenue streams, including tourism, oil and gas, and foreign investment, have slumped while inflation and deficit levels have soared.
The economy continues to face many challenges, but some positive signs have begun to emerge. In late March, the government issued tenders for major new port projects and is moving ahead with the next phase of the Cairo Metro.
This follows the news earlier that month that the UAEs Arabtec Holding had signed an agreement with the government to build 1 million low-income homes across the country. Egypt has the biggest shortage of affordable accommodation in the region, with an estimated shortfall of about 1.5 million homes.
The issue was a key driver of the 2011 revolution, and continued economic and political instability has made the situation worse. Construction of the new homes is expected to create more than 1 million local jobs.
Another positive development is that the local Carbon Holdings aims to complete the financing for its $5bn-plus Tahrir Petrochemicals complex by the end of the year. The firm said the mega-project, which includes Egypts first naphtha cracker, will create 50,000 jobs during the construction phase, which is set to begin in 2015.
These projects bode well, but full economic recovery will remain elusive if Cairo cannot make good on efforts to achieve political stability.