Egypt sees GDP growth at 5.5 pct in 2010/11

Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:23pm GMT

By Sherine El Madany

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's economy, buoyed by rising exports, could grow by 5.5 percent in fiscal 2010/11 and attract $10 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) as it recovers from the global economic crisis, a minister said on Thursday.

The growth forecast matches the consensus of 15 independent economists polled by Reuters last month and is stronger than projections for any of the Gulf Arab states apart from Qatar and for neighbours Turkey and Israel.

"Factors contributing to this 5.5 percent growth are Suez Canal growth rates and the exports growth level going back to normal," Economic Development Minister Osman Mohamed Osman said.

Osman said tourism, a foreign currency earner accounting for around 11 percent of Egypt's gross domestic product, had bounced back from troughs in late 2008 and early 2009.

"Tourism figures indicate that numbers of tourists, touristic nights and revenues have returned to levels from before the financial crisis," he told a news conference.

Egypt, while protected from the worst of the crisis, was hurt by a decline in tourism earnings, Suez Canal revenue and foreign investment. Growth fell to 4.7 percent last year after having sped along for three years at around 7 percent.

Osman said investments in Egyptian industry were 13 billion Egyptian pounds in the six months to the end of 2009, with 80 percent of that coming from the private sector.

Total investment in the three months to end-December was 55.7 billion pounds, up from 52.5 billion in the same period a year earlier. Of this, private investment made up 67 percent.   Continued...

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