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Leading through the crisis

Egypt posed for continued growth despite COVID-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has profoundly disrupted the business environment in Egypt, forcing companies to rapidly adapt and accelerate transformation processes. Almost a year after the declaration of the global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), two clear trends emerge.

  • First, the most agile, innovative, and resilient Egyptian firms are now in a very strong position for future growth.
  • Second, the ability to limit the transmission of the virus without halting the economy has been key to ensuring Egypt’s continued growth and a positive forecast for 2020 and beyond.

 

These two assessments go hand in hand, as the capability to safely carry out vital infrastructure projects even in the midst of the pandemic has been essential to supporting the country’s economic stability.

Backed by strong pre-pandemic economic performance and one of the world’s fastest-growing and most youthful populations, Egypt has had an undeniable demographic advantage in fighting Covid-19. However, the number one African country in terms of construction projects also faced the non-delayable necessity to keep expanding its infrastructure to be able to meet the growing population demand.

With this in mind, as the pandemic progressed, the Egyptian government implemented policies aimed at limiting contagions while preventing a halt to the economy. Next to containment measures designed to control the transmission of the disease, the government introduced economic stimulus measures and stabilisation policies to ease the burden on both individuals and the private sector and support economic growth.

Developing key infrastructure projects while adopting Covid-19 safety measures was key to safeguarding Egypt’s strong pre-pandemic outlook.

In this sense, the country's leading privately owned engineering, construction and infrastructure company, Hassan Allam, has been a remarkable example of successful crisis management and implementation of Covid-19 precautionary measures that helped the construction sector progress in 2020.

These measures, spanning from the sanitisation of the equipment, to temperature checks, face masks, remote work and paid leave rotation to ensure social distancing and minimize potential interactions, have proven effective in minimising risks and ensuring business continuity.

In fact, they resulted in Hassan Allam’s ability to keep delivering complex and strategic infrastructure, industrial, power, and water projects, including the Kafr El Sheikh primary concentration and mineral separation plants and the Al Mahsamma water treatment plant in Egypt.

 

 

As optimism grows for the possible end of the pandemic emergency by the fourth quarter of 2021, Egypt stands out in the MENA region and globally for having maintained a positive economic growth forecast despite Covid-19.

  • The IMF projects that the Egyptian economy will grow by 2% in 2020 and 3.7% the following year.
  • Agile corporate reaction to the pandemic and the lack of significant delays to ongoing projects suggest a quicker recovery based on strong employment figures and a sooner-than-expected boost in consumer spending.
  • Investments in critical energy and transport infrastructure are also paving the way for export focused industrial expansion as well as for the development of new urban centres. Indeed, the New Administrative Capital and the fourth stage of new cities are considered to be catalysts for construction in the medium term.
  • As Egypt looks to grow its industrial base and exports, the country continues to strengthen ties with the African continent. Egypt has coordinated with the African Union, leading its response to the pandemic, and will continue to play a leadership role in the development of trade and industry ties on the continent.

 

In the face of climate change and population growth above 2% in a country of 100 million, sustainable access to power and water will be key priorities throughout the recovery process. Smart infrastructure, transport and utilities requirements have shielded the project pipeline from the negative impacts of the pandemic. Following a brief pause for assessment, most projects are continuing apace.

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