Unrest cripples Egypt’s industry

06 December 2012

The industrial projects market has ground to a halt as foreign investors continue to stay away

Recent global trends have indicated that most of the wealthiest nations in the world are moving towards service-led economies with strong capabilities in information technology, financial services and logistics.

This migration has led to increased opportunities in developing nations to plug the gaps in other sectors, particularly in heavy industry.

In 2010, Egypt built a solid foundation to enable it to pursue massive expansion plans across key sectors in petrochemicals and metals. Egypt has got strong credentials that lend to the argument that it has the potential to become an industrial powerhouse. It has access to domestically produced hydrocarbons and land is available. It also has a large population and a comparative lack of skilled jobs.

The country’s geographical location means it has access to both the Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea and controls the Suez Canal. This gives it almost unrivalled access to several key markets in Europe and Asia. 

However, the Arab Uprisings of 2011 and the ensuing political turmoil has left Egypt trailing the likes of Saudi Arabia and even further afield, South Africa. Egypt’s industrial projects market has ground to a halt and a similar trend is seen in most other sectors as foreign investment dries up.

Egypt’s fledgling democracy is not at fault for the demise of the country’s projects sector. Volatility of any nature drives investment money out of a country and the turmoil in Egypt is proof of this.

Cairo is currently locked in a struggle with President Mohammed Mursi trying to assert his power. With no real end in sight to the crisis, it is likely foreign investors will continue to look elsewhere for opportunities.  

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