After a 30-year reign under Mubarak, Egypt is moving forward with the rejuvenation of its political landscape, confirming a presidential election will take place in September. Over 77% of eligible voters – or more than 14 million Egyptians – gave the go-ahead for an election earlier this month during a constitutional change referendum.
Relaxed restrictions are in place to welcome new political parties, which require approval of 5,000 members from a minimum of 10 of Egypt's 29 provinces. Participating parties have just over five months to prepare for what is said to be Egypt's first free and fair polling election in decades.
The military council has been overseeing the country since the heated demonstrations that succeeded in pushing former President Hosni Mubarak to resign on February 11, and will hand over power once a new president is elected and in place.
Strengthening Foreign Relations
Egypt's Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Dr. Samir El-Sayyad took a step in the right direction mid-March and met with foreign ambassadors from Italy, India, Russia and China to discuss strengthening economic ties and investment relations. The industries of interest targeted during the meetings included transportation, tourism, and foreign investment, among others.
Egypt needs an economic boost, with its GDP predicted to fall to 2%-3% percent this year, according to EFG-Hermes Holding SAE, the country’s biggest publicly traded investment bank.
Key Statistics – Egypt’s Economy (source: CIA World Factbook)
- GDP: close to $500 billion in 2010 (27th worldwide) compared to nearly $473 billion in 2009
- Public Debt: 80.5% of GDP in 2010 (16th worldwide) compared to 80.9% of GDP in 2009
- Employment & Labor: unemployment rate of 9.7% in 2010, up from 9.4% in 2009; labor force was 26.1 million in 2010
- Leading Industries: textiles, food processing, tourism, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, hydrocarbons, construction, cement, metal