Egypt’s Prime Minister Hisham Kandil on Sunday urged a major U.S. business delegation to invest in post-Mubarak Egypt, as he sought to showcase an attractive investment environment.
AFP reported that U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides is accompanying the delegation of more than 100 American executives aiming to promote private sector development in Egypt.
“Egypt opens its doors to investors,” Kandil was quoted by the official MENA news agency as having told attendants.
“Egypt is a land of opportunity, with a young population, good infrastructure... enabling an environment to invest,” he added.
Kandil, who was named Egypt’s premier in July, stressed that the turbulence following the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak is over.
He added that Egypt had held successful elections and that security had returned to the Arab world's most populous nation.
Kandil stressed, however, that having a democratic election must be accompanied by economic growth.
“We all insist on making Egypt an advanced and democratic country,” he said, adding the government was working to “attract capital by providing a modern legislative environment.”
“Reducing the budget deficit is a top priority,” he said.
The delegation’s visit comes after reports last week that the Obama administration is nearing an agreement with Egypt’s new government to relieve $1 billion of its debt. The debt relief is part of an American and international assistance package intended to bolster its transition to democracy.
The announcement came nearly 16 months after the U.S. first pledged to help Egypt’s failing economy.
In addition to the debt assistance, the administration has thrown its support behind a $4.8 billion loan being negotiated between Egypt and the International Monetary Fund.
AFP reported that during the visit, members of the American delegation will also meet with other cabinet members, heads of political parties and business leaders.
U.S. planes landed in Egypt last week for a joint exercise, the first since the fall of Hosni Mubarak.
Code-named “Eagle Arena 2012,” the exercise includes air and naval forays by US and Egyptian planes and boats, over the country, Sinai, and the Red Sea.