He made the announcement on Friday on the sidelines of the ongoing 3-day Egypt Economic Development Conference in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh. Egypt is playing host to more than 2,000 delegates from 112 nations including executives of multinational companies and heads of state, to the economic conference where President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi will present his economic vision to international investors with an aim to putting Egypt back on the map as a choice investment destination after 4 years of political turmoil following the 2011 uprising.
Egypt’s Investment Minister Ashraf Salman told Journalists on Friday, the opening day of the conference, that he expects Egypt to secure new investments at the summit to the tune of at least $15 billion. Sawiris said his family will put up a fifth of that amount this year because they believe Egypt to be the most stable place in a tumultuous Middle East.
“Egypt is the most stable country in this big mess. We’ve acknowledged the mess in Libya, the mess in Iraq, in Syria,” he said. “The fact is, Egypt is solid, Egypt is stable. We are actually the last pillar of resistance against uncertainties.”
Sawiris said the $15 billion investment expectation was a bit ambitious, but expressed optimism that the country would raise the amount.
“Of course it depends on the amount of investment we can collect – the plan calls for $15 billion a year in investments, and I believe it’s doable,” he said. “To give a ballpark figure, my family will provide this year, or at this conference, 20 percent of that figure, in the energy sector.”
Sawiris said Orascom Construction, the company controlled by his brother, Naseef Sawiris, is on the verge of signing preliminary contracts with investors from the United Arab Emirates.
“There will be announcements for a power plant of around $2 billion and I’m doing a solar plant for $120 million,” he said, while also lauding the government’s recent approval to amendments to investment laws which among things streamlines income and corporate taxes.
The Sawiris family owns the Orascom Group, a conglomerate with interests in telecoms, construction and hospitality. The patriarch of the family, Onsi Sawiris, and his three sons – Nassef, Naguib and Samih are all billionaires according to FORBES’s recent ranking of the world’s richest people.