Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19 in early 2020, Egypt had one of the best-performing economies in the MENA region and, despite the disruptive effects of the pandemic, this trend looks set to continue. Egypt’s resilient economy can in part be attributed to a series of government-implemented structural reforms, backed by a $12bn IMF loan released in five tranches, the last of which was received in May 2019. The country’s post-Covid-19 recovery will be guided by the Egypt Vision 2030 strategy, which identifies nearly 80 programmes and projects, including the development of river transport, entrepreneurship programmes, logistics centres and environmental projects. Meanwhile, continued reform to the financial and insurance sectors is designed to attract greater capital to the country and support growth in other industries such as real estate, oil and gas, petrochemicals, transport and textiles.
Although the outlook remains uncertain, Egypt’s strong project pipeline, strategic geographic importance and broad range of recent reforms should ensure that the country is able to weather the storm. The pandemic has presented a number of new opportunities that Egypt can capitalise on, including the rise of e-commerce and digital banking, and the potential worldwide shift of manufacturing operations out of China. The crisis may also act as a catalyst for increased spending on the health sector, which is already undergoing considerable change as a result of the introduction of universal health insurance.