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Egypt’s new free zone to serve development purposes

Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly approved May 13 a decision to set up a free zone in the southwest of the New Aswan city. This comes as part of the government's plan for the development of cities in Upper Egypt to serve investors and create more jobs.

Previously, the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI)’s board of directors consented in February to set up this free zone. The conditions and regulations related to Investment Law No. 72 of 2017 clarifying the rights of the state and investor were drafted, all contracts were updated, and a branch of the Investors Services Center was established in May in the public free zone in the Nasr district of Cairo to make things easier for investors.

Article 3 of Chapter 1, Section 2 of the Investment Law No. 72 of 2017 sets forth investment guarantees in Egypt: “The State shall ensure to the foreign investor the same treatment given to the national investor. Under a decree issued by the Cabinet of Ministers, an exception can be made granting the foreign investors a preferential treatment in application of the principle of reciprocity. The invested funds shall not be governed by any arbitrary procedures or discriminatory decisions. The State shall grant the non-Egyptian investors residence in the Arab Republic of Egypt throughout the project’s terms without prejudice to the provisions of the relevant regulating laws and in the manner stipulated by the Executive Regulations of this Law.”

The Aswan free zone is part of the Ministry of Local Development’s plan to open seven new free zones in New Ismailia, el-Herafien in Giza governorate, Gamasa in Dakahlia governorate, Mutubas in Kafr El Sheikh governorate, Aswan, as well as in the Minya and South Sinai governorates by 2022, with a capital of around $12.1 billion. The plan is designed to meet the ministry’s goal of equal distribution of free zones in all Egyptian governorates in a way to create job opportunities for their inhabitants and bring about development.

Photo AMGAD FUAD/AFP/Getty Images

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