Hossam Heiba, the CEO of the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI), and Helen Budliger, the Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs, have discussed potential investment opportunities for Swiss companies in Egypt. This meeting took place on the sidelines of the African Intra-Trade Fair (IATF2023) hosted by Egypt.
In a meeting attended by Yvonne Baumann, the Swiss Ambassador to Egypt, and Simone Wyss, the head of Swiss Global Enterprise, the officials delved into ways of activating a memorandum of understanding with GAFI. This memorandum focuses on promoting and attracting foreign investments, particularly emphasizing small and medium-sized enterprises.
Heiba also participated in a reception organized by the Swiss Chamber of Commerce. The event was attended by a large number of major Swiss companies operating in Egypt, along with Egyptian and African businesses, aimed at bolstering trade and investment relations between Egypt and Switzerland.
Heiba pointed out that Egypt is Switzerland's largest trading partner in Africa. While major Swiss companies are already active in the Egyptian market, there are still more promising opportunities to be exploited for mutual benefit. Egypt stands to gain from Swiss expertise and knowledge, while Switzerland can benefit from the competitive advantages of the Egyptian economy.
Despite economic challenges, Egypt remains a prime investment destination and a key gateway to Africa. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), one of the world's largest free trade areas, offers tremendous opportunities for investment and trade expansion in the continent, encompassing a market of 1.3 billion consumers and over $3.4 trillion in size.
Budliger remarked, "Egypt's choice to host the African Intra-Trade Fair is no coincidence. Egypt is not only an economic giant in Africa but also, due to its strategic location at the crossroads between Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, is poised to become the preferred entry point for companies looking to do business in Africa."
This meeting marks a significant step in strengthening the economic ties between Egypt and Switzerland, opening new avenues for collaboration and mutual growth in the African continent.