Italian business delegation proposes five investment initiatives

An Italian business delegation currently visiting Egypt has expressed enthusiasm towards enhancing mutual cooperation and boosting trade exchange between the two nations.

Five Italian initiatives have been presented to the Egyptian cabinet in the fields of agriculture, tourism, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), bio and renewable energy as well as vocational training. “We’re eager to find partners,” said the president of the Italian Association for Cooperation and Friendship with Egypt (IACFE), Antonio Badini, during a press conference held Monday.

The delegation earmarked $2 billion for investment in the Egypt and stressed expanding public private-partnership (PPP) investments. Badini expressed the delegation’s desire to work hand in hand with the Federation of Egyptian Industries towards developing vocational training of human capital. He also emphasised the need for a mutual agreement that allows duty-free exchange of goods between both nations.

“Italian SMEs are finding it more difficult to compete in a global market due to the high cost of production and taxation in Europe. In order for these companies to remain globally competitive, they need to find ways to save on production costs. This is where Egypt comes in,” said the counsellor for the IACFE, Dr Nagy Albert.

This way, “Egypt can benefit from their technology and knowhow while Italy can reduce their production cost owing to Egypt’s lower taxes,” added Albert.

On the sidelines of the press conference, the president of the Italian-Egyptian Business Council, Khaled Abu Bakr told the Daily News Egypt “they [Italians] are used to investing in an instable political climate,” commenting on possible concerns that might deter investment. “For them, it’s a stable transitional period. We’re the ones who are too worried and I highly doubt that cycle of production and employment would come to a halt so long as we continue to live and work and produce and raise generations.”

One of the agricultural initiatives is the Green Corridor, which basically aims at easing and expediting agricultural trade between Egypt and Italy. “This is one of the projects that necessitates mutual cooperation. Italian ports are fully committed to facilitate quick and smooth transportation of our agricultural production in order to reach Italian ports fresh, safe and properly packaged,” said Albert.

“The government is in the final stages of restarting the high-speed maritime line between Alexandria and Venice, which stopped operating after the revolution,” AbuBakr said, adding that one of the main targets of the Italian-Egyptian Business Council is to lure Italian SMEs that are closing down in Italy to come and start their businesses in Egypt rather than any other neighbouring country. “As we speak, there are factories being entirely transported to Egypt in cooperation with Egyptian investors who expressed interest in expanding their operations,” AbuBakr added.

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