"Egypt: Forward Forum" Emphasizes a Future for Growth

July 1, 2011
Assistant Secretary Fernandez Moderates Egypt Forward Panel

This week I moderated an executive roundtable at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency's "Egypt: Forward Forum." The forum was a two-day event in Washington that brought representatives from Egypt's energy, information and communication technology, transportation, and agribusiness sectors to discuss trade, investment and commercial opportunities with the public and private sector in the United States.

My roundtable included executives from two American companies that have been doing business in Egypt for decades, Citicorp and Boeing, and two from emerging Egyptian companies, Mobinil and Raya Holding. Each of the speakers hailed from different backgrounds and experiences, yet all had the same energy and excitement as they talked about the potential that lay before them in a new Egypt.

That potential, of course, has been amplified by the Arab Spring and the changes that have taken place in the region. Egypt now has the opportunity to unlock the potential of all its people -- men, women, and youth -- to drive Egypt's growth. There are ample challenges that need to be overcome before Egypt can realize its full economic potential. Egypt will have to undertake reforms to shed past legacies that have stunted private sector growth and make it easier to start a business, to invest, and to settle disputes.

But as I listened to Mr. Medhat Khalil, CEO and Chairman of Raya Holding, talk about growing his call center from two seats to 600 seats and the opportunities this growth represents, particularly to Egyptian women, I became even more optimistic about Egypt's potential and more committed than ever to our belief that a prosperous Egypt, supported by economic growth and a strong private sector, will be an anchor of stability for the region.

Progress will require courage and perseverance, qualities that Egyptians have in abundance. Our panel also discussed one of the challenges facing the development of the private sector -- access to financing. For our part, the United States is working to strengthen the Egyptian private sector on several fronts, including through OPIC financing, technical expertise from USAID, and here at the State Department, through programs like the Global Entrepreneurship Program that help support the budding entrepreneurial and business environment in Egypt and in the greater MENA region.

We realize, however, that the private sector cannot do it alone. It is vital that the Egyptian government play its part in ensuring that Egypt's business climate is welcoming and empowering for business. The United States will work to ensure that the revolution delivers on its promise, and we stand ready to support Egypt as it liberalizes not only its political system but its economy as well.

Stay connected with Assistant Secretary Fernandez on Facebook and Twitter.

Comments

Comments

heard73
July 4, 2011

W.W. writes:

This thing belongs to new young and different generation stop with th old one or the crisis won't ever been solved.

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