Egypt Plans To Sell State Stakes In 32 Firms

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly announced that Egypt will be selling stakes in at least 32 companies by March 2024. This plan has been largely neglected for years due to the country’s financial difficulties, but is now being revived.

Stakes in three prominent banks, Banque du Caire, United Bank of Egypt and Arab African International Bank, are among the planned sales. Additionally, insurance, electricity and energy companies, hotels, and industrial and agricultural concerns will be up for sale.

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At the end of March, the first stakes in the companies will be available, according to Madbouly, who spoke after the cabinet meeting. By the end of June, a quarter of the stakes will have been offered, and the list of companies may be expanded in the coming year.

He stated that the offerings offer various companies, aiming to either broaden the involvement of Egyptians in public ownership or attract strategic investors.

In 2016, the sale of a lot of the stakes, including in three banks, was announced; however, economic downturns, the pandemic, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have caused the program to be delayed.

It has been observed by economists that privatisation plans were stifled by a slow-moving bureaucracy and by powerful interests within the government and that were in opposition.

After the war in Ukraine caused serious foreign investment withdrawals from Egypt’s financial markets, the necessity to sell state assets became more pressing, leading to a crisis in the economy.

In December, Egypt approved a $3 billion rescue plan with the International Monetary Fund, and is relying on the revenue generated from the privatisation initiative to address its financial needs over the four-year IMF programme.

Jean Harris

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