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Egypt Targets $6.5 bn in Privatisation Programme for 2024: Finance Minister

February 14, 2024
Image Credit: The Egyptian Ministry of Finance/Website

Egypt aims to raise approximately USD 6.5 billion (EGP 200.8 billion) through the privatisation of state-owned companies and assets by the end of this year, Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait announced on 13 February, according to a press release on the ministry’s website.

“[The programme] contributes to attracting more investments, maximising the role of the private sector in economic activity, and increasing the sector’s participation in public investments to 65 percent in the coming years,” the press release reads.

Maait’s comments, which were given during the Annual Arab Fiscal Forum in Dubai, came a few months after Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly revealed that the government secured about USD 5.6 billion (EGP 173 billion) in 2023 from selling state-owned stakes in 14 companies.

While Madbouly did not disclose what the 14 companies were, media outlets reported stakes being sold in the Telecom Egypt, E-Finance, Eastern Company, Al Ezz Dekheila Steel Company, Paint and Chemicals Industries, Commercial International Bank, Abu Qir Fertilisers, Misr Fertilisers Production Company, Alexandria Containers and Cargo, Fawry, Egyptian Ethylene and Derivatives Company, Egyptian Drilling Company, and Egyptian Linear Alkyl Benzene Company.

Currently, 35 entities and assets are on the government’s privatisation list. An unconfirmed report from Al-Borsa, citing an anonymous official, also suggests that an additional 61 companies will be included.

Stakes in Wataniya, Safi, Gabal El-Zeit, Banque Du Caire, ChillOut, United Bank, and more – initially targeted to finalise in 2023 – are expected to wrap up this year.

The government’s privatisation programme was created as a condition for receiving a USD 3 billion (EGP 68 billion at the time) loan package by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in October 2022.

Despite expectations of receiving two additional tranches from the IMF’s package in March and September 2023, delays in the programme’s execution led to pauses in the loan reviews initially scheduled for September 2023.

Progress has been made since, particularly after a successful two-week-long meeting with an IMF delegation in Cairo that concluded on 1 February.

The monetary fund’s revised loan programme is expected to still prioritise enabling the private sector further.

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