On taking power during 1952, President Nasser quickly introduced
a Soviet-style command economy that was closed to Western investment.
After Nasser’s death, Anwar Sadat, his successor, progressively
dismantled the existing system in favour of a policy of infitah
(openness) regarding investment. Egypt’s economy experienced
rapid growth in the 1970's with the swift expansion of tourism,
the oil industry and the Suez Canal.
Throughout the 1990's, stern fiscal policies, agreed with the
IMF and World Bank, and additional market-oriented measures brought
the economy in Egypt to its current condition.
In mid-2004, inflation was approximately 14%, annual growth had
decreased to 3% and official unemployment was 10% (although there
is considerable under-employment).
Egypt’s major industries are fertilisers, textiles,
cement and rubber products. Many vehicle-assembly
plants and steel production works are also part of Egypt's industries.
The main crops are sugar, wheat, cotton, rice, maize
and a range of vegetables and fruit.
Egypt’s major trading partners are the United States
of America and the major EU economies
(Italy and Germany).
Expansion of the tourist sector was hampered
briefly by the activities of Islamic fundamentalists. Irrigation
from the River Nile is relied on by Egypt's Agriculture,
which employs one 3rd of the working population in Egypt. Foreign
aid is a significant source of government funds.
The following organisations can offer advice:
Egyptian-British Chamber of Commerce
- United Kingdom
PO Box 4EG,
299 Oxford Street,
Telephone number: (020) 7499 3100
Fax number: (020) 7499 1070
Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce
4 Midan el-Falaky Square,
Telephone number: (2) 795 1136
Fax number: (2) 795 7940)