At BATIMAT, the originally French major building materials conference held in Cairo on March 9-11 with a total of 32 French companies taking part, Invest-Gate spoke to head of the French Economic Mission H.E Jerome Baconin, who expressed his optimism on the nationwide construction sector outlook.
“Egypt’s construction sector has great potential and French companies are willing to expand their investments in the field,” Baconin told Invest-Gate.
Baconin said that Egypt’s building sector is very promising and that “French companies can support this development of the country’s building and construction sectors”.
According to the French senior official, French investments in Egypt total between USD 3.5 bn to USD 4 bn. Baconin also stated that about 160 French investors have been working in Egypt across different economic sectors.
“Many French companies have been operating in Egypt for a long time and we are trying to attract more French companies, especially in the building materials sector and more widely in the sustainable city sector,” Baconin said.
French investments in Egypt, he added, include investments in transport, finance, services, telecommunications, infrastructure, tourism, pharmaceuticals, food and logistics.
According to the Central Bank of Egypt, France is Egypt’s ninth largest trading partner.
Egyptian exports to France include petroleum, oil, coke coal, cotton and yarns, industrial and intermediate products as well as agricultural commodities.
Imports from France, meanwhile, include electrical equipment, machines and spare parts, wheat, chemical products, airplanes, cars, iron and steel as well as medical and optical devices. France is also Egypt’s fifth largest supplier and ranks fifth for direct investment in Egypt, according to CBE data.
A total of 23 French companies operating in the field of building, construction, renewable energy, urban transport, and utilities participated in the BATIMAT conference last week. The exhibition took place at the French Sustainable City Club pavilion during the exhibition under the auspices of the French Embassy in Cairo.
The club offers integrated solutions to obstacles in the field of building and construction and seeks to identify Egyptian projects now underway for future cooperation.
The originally French exhibit, which was held for the first time in Egypt, featured hundreds of engineers, constructors, designers, architects, tradesmen, retailers and businesspeople interesting to invest in the real estate sector.
“BATIMAT was a very good occasion for us to invite some VIPs from the Egyptian government in order to identify the building and construction projects underway in the country and find solutions to challenges presented to such projects,” Baconin said.
The French diplomat added that the French Embassy in Cairo has proposed the 23 French companies participate in the BATIMAT conference and exhibition in order to exchange expertise with Egyptian companies and officials in charge of ongoing projects nationwide.
Baconin also praised recent economic reform measures taken by the government, describing them as promising. “Such measures would contribute to attracting additional foreign investors to the country, especially from France,” Baconin said.
“There is a definite will on the part of the Egyptian government to ease all measures for investors and facilitate their businesses here in Egypt,” he added.
Baconin also noted that Egypt is a key market for French companies, which consider the country a hub for exporting to Africa and the GCC.
“Egypt is a very important market for us and we hope to further enhance bilateral economic cooperation in the future,” the French diplomat said.